Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 24, 2020

one long moment

It was last Tuesday evening (so long ago) when my wife edited the words long moment from an article I was writing. Wait … What? … But, that’s exactly what I wanted to say.

My wife is a master of grammar and punctuation. A moment is a moment, she explained. There is no “long” moment. I stood corrected and gracefully deferred to her expertise. Today, however, those edited words have greater intention and purpose, and I am choosing to coin a new phrase … one long moment. We might all agree that long and moment may not typically fit together, but don’t you agree that it seems like right now we are all stuck in one long moment? To prove my point, try to remember life before social distancing and endless time confined within the four walls of your home.

When leaders say, “We will get through this,” our first response is “When?” Intellectually, we all agree with those encouraging words of the long moment ending. However, the emotional struggle for everyone is keeping a positive attitude in this seemingly endless “moment.”  We all have ritual patterns to our days and weeks, but for the time being our new pattern is one long moment of isolation, quick grocery visits, take-out meals, church online and an unsettled spirit about when this moment will end.

So how are you doing? Covid-19 is called a global pandemic, but the reality is that we are amid a very personal pandemic. In your realm of influence there are people who may struggle with fear, worry, or family burdens. Others are struggling with the financial effects of not working or the losses they have taken in retirement assets. The personal side of this goes on and on!  So how do we match our faith in Christ and confidence in God’s sovereignty with this one long moment?  Hopefully, I can give a small amount of perspective for at least today’s long moment.

“You can’t see the whole path ahead, but there is usually enough light to take the next step and then to trust God’s guidance in the moment.”
— Henri Nouwen

I heard this quote last Sunday and it resonated. Will Covid-19 end today, tomorrow, or May 1st? No one knows. For Christ-followers, that is not the point. God is in charge of our days, and a focus on simply looking and listening for His guidance in taking the next step is essential.  For me, it can be a battle. I focus on His Word and start well and then those Pandemic updates come, and I have to refocus. But in this one long moment, I can live well … living moment by moment.  A favorite verse of mine helps.

The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?
Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)

In our personal pandemic adventure, we can rest in the fact that He has ordained each day for us.

As I think of this season, my mind wondered back to some of my heroes. Abraham and Sarah had a long moment waiting for a child. Joseph had an extended time in prison before God raised him to great authority.  Moses lived a long moment on the backside of the desert and then another hard season in the wilderness. I can’t even fathom the moments that Job walked through on his journey. David’s difficult long moment running from Saul had to be tough. What about that 40-day wilderness experience of our Savior doing battle with the devil?

Do you think that Abraham and Sarah and Joseph and David and Moses and Job and Jesus got weary in their long moment?  God was sovereign over those moments, and our lives have been deeply impacted by the faith of these ordinary people who were part of the extraordinary story God recorded in his Word.

Allow me to close with something I read in David Jeremiah’s book, Overcomer. I believe it speaks to this time of personal pandemic.

“Being an Overcomer isn’t something we accomplish by our own power and wisdom. When we can’t see how our everyday decisions and actions fit into God’s cosmic plan, God essentially says to us, ‘Let Me relieve you of that worry, that fear. Just take this one little step into the light I have placed in front of you, and I will see to it that your faithful action will fit into the overarching plan and accomplish both My goals and your good.’”

God has some goals and purposes for you and me in this long moment.  We can live each day just taking the next step into the light He places before us and we will get through this … well!

Signed, A fellow struggler.


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