By now, many are growing numb to the constant barrage of news around the tragic outbreak of Covid-19. The realities of the disruption of our routines and the sudden sequestering we’re now in are compounded by the uncertainty of just how long this could drag on.
David’s own words in Psalm 13 come to mind:
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Uncertainty itself can be daunting enough, requiring tremendous discipline to keep our eyes focused on God for our security, strength, and hope on the best of days. But when a global pandemic has struck and life has changed overnight, the temptation to despair can be downright overwhelming.
But consider the next words of David in this same psalm, words with which he refocuses on God, crying out for His presence.
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
To be seen by God, or considered, is to come back to the core of our belonging to Him and to find our strength renewed despite the uncertainties of our “foes.” David’s discipline to return to what he truly knows about God’s loving character is what will sustain him through his trials, as will it sustain us in our own.
David’s “breakthrough” comes as he re-centers his eyes upon the God who has shown hesed (lovingkindness, steadfast love, and covenant faithfulness) to him time and again.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
So to stay positive, productive, and even more creative than ever during this crisis, let’s take a cue from the ancient psalmist and do three things.
1) Talk with God and be bold to ask questions. He can handle it. Address him as you would anyone and wait for His answers to become clear to your heart. God longs for the dialog with you, even if you’re asking hard questions like David. He’s never surprised or put off by you, so go ahead, ask away.
2) Make yourself present to God. Ask Him to “consider” you and make His presence known in deeper ways as you make yourself “present” to Him. Sometimes turning that idea around releases a profound sense of the Spirit in our midst as we realize He’s asking for our presence as much as we’re asking for His. Be sensitive to your physical and spiritual posture and open your mind and heart to the idea that you can be more present to Him with your entire being, i.e. Romans 12:1 – 2.
3) As you trust and rejoice, sing. Sometimes when we’re caught up in trying to write songs for Jesus, we forget to sing songs to Jesus. Take extra time while sequestered to worship, sing, pray, pour your heart out, and just commune with God without trying to write a specific song. In my experience, when I stop trying so hard the greatest productivity occurs.
These three things, as simple as they sound, amount to practicing a more profound discipline of quietness and solitude instead of being stuck to CNN for the latest statistic. Some of the greatest songs in history have come out of the worst tragedies (see Amazing Grace) and it is unquestionable that greater positivity results from time alone with God.
Let’s do all we can during this uncertain time to stay positive, productive, and creative. There are plenty of opportunities to share your songs online through the Successful Christian Songwriters Facebook group, as well as many other groups on the internet while sheltering in place, so use this time to write even more and to encourage everyone around you to trust in God’s unfailing love.