Hypervigilance is very familiar to me. Wow. There is so much in that sentence. The sentence didn’t start that way. The first words that I wrote were “My hypervigilance”, but something didn’t seem quite right. Hypervigilance isn’t a part of me, probably. Or if it is, I have not sought the Lord Jesus on what it is for, how to use it, or how it might draw us closer.
I believe that I use it in many ways that are destructive, but that He mercifully redeems. I have ended up doing computer investigations for a career. And I can spot things out of place very quickly. But sometimes I trust these responses, and when they happen quickly, I often don’t seem to have time to turn to God in them.
But these responses are familiar. Practiced 10s of thousands of times, if not hundreds of thousands of times. Reflexes. Muscle memory of the soul.
So, it is not surprising that as I am going about my business, especially shopping, that I find myself “stocking up” for a coronavirus epidemic. The Lord has been very clear. I need to depend on Him. No amount of preparation on my part will be sufficient. And I don’t even know sufficient for what. I found myself buying extra bleach, extra furnace filters, and even a UV-C lamp. I thought of my godson and his girlfriend and little girl. I wanted to bankroll some stockpiling of some similar supplies for him. But, really, what I have is not enough to last long at all.
The strange thing is that I don’t believe that it is futile. Mathematicians call it necessary, but not sufficient. But, “necessary” may be too strong of a word. And “not sufficient” really should be more like “not even close”. But, mathematicians don’t talk in such terms.
So, coming home from a necessary late evening trip to get a new faucet at the hardware story with a few extra furnace air filters, I encountered a beautiful snow fall. This took me back to another time when Jesus taught me about His love in the midst of hardship and pain.
My wife and I began to live separately a year and a half before we divorced. Our son went back and forth between us on different days of the week, with one exception, Wednesdays. He was always with his mom on Wednesdays. And on Wednesdays, I always used the evening to take a trip to the local laundromat and do laundry.
I was living in a house that was divided up into apartments. And it was on the edge of a not very nice part of town. And, it was cold, dark, and I was complaining about the trips from the car that I would have to make with the laundry.
I should also note that this was about a year after I had separated from my wife, and while people would ask how I was doing, that was something that people got tired of, especially because I gave them honest answers. I was hurt. I was confused. I felt abandoned, by my wife and by God. I hurt so much for my son, whose world was turned upside down, time and again. He was so little. He was only barely 4 years old.
So, when people asked “How are you doing?”, even if they had the right intonations, I knew they really didn’t want to know.
So, carrying the first load of laundry in, I came around the side of the building, and a motion sensor triggered a security light. And the security light revealed the most beautiful snowfall that I had ever seen. I stopped where I was, and marveled.
Then the Lord spoke to my heart. “How are you doing?”
It is foolish to lie to Jesus. He knew that I had been complaining. He knew that I had said how unfair everything was. He knew that I didn’t like the devoting my only free evening to laundry, and then not just devoting it to laundry but to the inconvenience of not just having to go to the basement to do it. And He knew that I really still hurt from being separated from the woman that I loved, and from knowing how completely inadequate I was to bring healing to my son. I was nowhere close to being a sufficient healer. I felt that all that I could do is distract my son from his pain temporarily. Even my love was so woefully inadequate.
So, I said that I was hurting, and life sucked.
He responded “My plans are going just fine.”
It didn’t hurt, because He took the time to bring stunning beauty into my life in a breathtaking way, with the security light and the snowfall.
Tonight’s snowfall was a reminder. His plans are going just fine, coronavirus and all. His capacity to bring beauty, and healing, and to comfort us, and grieve with us is just so much greater, that nothing compares to it, not even a pandemic.