Rest in Hard Times

August 2020

"This is hard. This is really hard." I caught myself praying this at 1:00 am this morning.

These past 5 months have been a doozy, haven't they? From canceled plans to learning new ways to navigate grocery aisles, we are all walking routes we had no conception of last year. 

After three years of working from home, my husband found out last month that it's time to update his resume and start pursuing interviews.

Meanwhile, most of the people in my circles who have contracted Covid have caught it as a result of attending church gatherings. While no outbreaks have happened as a result of my congregation's outdoor gatherings, as a worship leader, this weighs on me.

"This is hard, Lord."

That being said, my family has made beautiful memories this year, and my children are closer than they have ever been. Earlier this week, my 12 year old taught her little sisters how to pickle cucumbers. In the midst of this pandemic. They are developing a quiet strength...as their desires run up again an answer of "no" time and time again.

It should come as no surprise that hard times are good times for accepting an infusion of God's strength.

This third century prayer captures it well:

A Prayer For Divine Strength 

O mightiest King, co-eternal with the Father, 

    who by Thy might hast vanquished hell and trodden death under foot, 

    who hast bound the strong man, 

    and by Thy miraculous power and the enlightening radiance of Thy  unspeakable Godhead hast raised Adam from the tomb, 

send forth Thy invisible right hand, which is full of blessing, and bless us all. 

Pity us, O Lord, and strengthen us by Thy divine power. 

Take away from us the sinful and wicked influence of carnal desire. Let the light shine into our souls, and dispel the surrounding darkness of sin. 

Unite us to the all-blessed assembly that is well-pleasing unto Thee; for through Thee and with Thee, all praise, honour, power, adoration, and thanksgiving are due unto the Father and the Holy Spirit, now, henceforth, and for evermore. Amen.

—Liturgy of St. Mark. 

This prayer reminds me that I am often my own worst enemy. I'm used to being able to do things a certain way. When I can't, it feels like my "rights" are being taken away. Yet one way to understand sin is as a determination to do things our own way - to be our own boss. It's a carnal desire. 

Yes, Lord, let Your light "shine into our souls and dispel the surrounding darkness of sin."

Pity us, O Lord, and strengthen us by Thy divine power.

Amber