By Elizabeth Prata
This COVID thing, eh? We’re up, we’re down, we’re free, we’re under quarantine, one droplet can instantly kill everyone in a 100 mile radius, it doesn’t spread as much as we thought, masks help, masks don’t help…
It’s hard to find good information so as to make wise decisions. With all the conflicting information it’s hard even to know for sure if the leaders we submit to are making wise decisions based on good information, or just succumbing to a general fear.
As Christians, we submit even to foolish decisions our leaders make. I believe we are to follow all the mandates of those above us unless they ask us to sin. But it’s tough.
Emotionally, despair can set in. Anxiety can be pervasive. People get triggered over the smallest of things, or nothing. We struggle, not seeing our elderly parents in the nursing home. We struggle not seeing our elderly parents because we want to be cautious so we stay away. We miss friends. Two or three-year-olds have been out of church so long, they don’t remember church. A kindergartener hasn’t even had the benefit or fun of completing one full school year, but they don’t remember what school was like anyway. It’s sad all around. Guest lists for weddings are winnowed to barely nothing. Funerals are hardest of all. With all this uncertainty and sadness, grief can set in.
It’s during these times that relying on Jesus is paramount. He is the Rock. He is unchanging. He is perfect and all His statures are perfect. There, with Jesus, is peace.
But how do we attain tranquility, peace, confidence amid all this rising fear, chaos, upset?
For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. (Ezra 7:10).
Set his heart is from a word meaning to prepare, establish, etc. The primary meaning of the verb is to stand in an upright position, and thus the word means steadfast or fixed. [Key Word Study Bible].
And I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: (Daniel 9:3)
But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50:7).
When the days drew near for him [Jesus] to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51).
The word in Greek for Luke 9:52 is stērízō, “a support that fixes, plants down”; akin to 2476 /hístēmi, “to stand,” set fast (fix); give support to secure (firmly establish); solidly plant (which eliminates vacillation). If you picture a pole set into the ground, standing upright, facing a certain way, and not changing position, that is the idea.
Ezra, Daniel, Isaiah, and Jesus all “set their face”. They took a strong action. Setting one’s face bespeaks of deciding fully and strongly, girding up their loins, planting their feet. It is an action. It is a choice.
When we are faced with an endless parade of lockdown mandates, when we’re separated from our church family, when we’re uncertain about our child’s school in the fall, or even who will care for them when you go back to work…when you’re facing a mountain of bills, when the nation is going crazy, whatever it is, we have to “Set our face” toward Jesus. It’s a time perhaps when we least want to. But it’s exactly the time that we must.
Peaceful feelings in Jesus don’t come by osmosis. It sounds weird, but we have to fight for tranquility. Paul said he had “learned” contentment in all circumstances. It takes a determination to seek Jesus out, to pray, to read the Bible, to serve, to go to church. It is an action we decide upon, seek out, enact.
Darrell B. Harrison (@D_B_Harrison) said today,
When you don’t feel like praying, pray (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
When you don’t feel like believing, believe (Mark 9:24)
When you feel tired, keep going (Hebrews 12:1-2)
When you feel hopeless, stay encouraged (Philippians 4:13)
When you feel defeated, fight on (Ephesians 6:10)
In other words, set your face to Jesus, resolve to fulfill your Christian duties, and make it happen. The Spirit will do the rest.