I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Meron Asnake (WITHIN Devotional Contributor)
On April 23rd, 2020, Illinois’ Governor announced the extension of the stay-at-home order until May 30th. As my introvert friend casually broke the news to my hearing, I remember my throat welling up with a groan. I recall myself in dismay and said in return “girl, I think I am going to scream.” With which she shockingly replied, “is it really that bad?” I did not have answers for her because I was grappling with the thought of another month. I am reminded of my racing thoughts as I verbally processed with her; “I mean, it has been more than 6 weeks already. I have been working from home; we are limited in our travel and time with community, and so much more. I do not think I can. This just cannot be happening; it JUST can’t.” Our conversation was abruptly interrupted by an incoming call from her aunt, and we hung up to reconvene later. But I couldn't help myself from replaying the conversation in my head.
I was not ready for an extended stay neither was I ready for my own outburst of the matter. However, it set off an alarm in my mental health; it communicated my need to address the underlying concerns I was suffocating. I did not know how to express it, nor did I have enough words to pray about it. So, I slowly got up from my home desk and sluggishly walked into my bedroom. I grabbed my pillow and screamed into it as long and as loud as I could. I came up for air and dived back into the pillow and screeched even louder. By this time, I burst into laughter; it was a peculiar thing I was experiencing because I was acting “out of character.” Yet again, there is nothing normal about this pandemic. I felt the tension dissipating; however, I dived back and screamed for the last time to relieve the rest of my worries.
I wondered if this is what Paul meant about Romans 8:26. I experienced literal hermeneutics of this verse in my scream-fest as the words leapt to the forefront of my memory. From bird’s eye-view observation, I suppose this is what Paul expresses; 26 “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.” Even with our “right minds and understanding”, we lack to fully discern the will of the Lord in our life. We have a need for an intercessor, who searches the hearts and knows the mind of the Spirit, and an intercession according to the WILL of God (Romans 8:27).
In a rightful posture of weakness, which humbles us to depend on God, we find sobriety in His presence. We recognize our hearts’ deceitful and sick conditions that want to keep us intoxicated with their desires (Jeremiah 17:9). Praise God for his grace and mercy in knowing all things and giving us the ultimate comforter and counselor. We may not have answers to several things; maybe, this is the reason for this season: for us to go to God with our anxieties and to cast our cares on Him for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Hence, I want to encourage us to intentionally pray for one another. I pray that we take the time to do a mental inventory of our state of mind. I pray we ask God to help us process and submit to Him and NOT suppress our anxieties and fears. I pray that He surrounds us with a community of believers that will pour into us. Moreover, I pray we are not ashamed to seek professional counselors and therapists, if able. May the Lord keep you; may He shine His light upon you and give you peace that will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
James 1: 2-4
1 Peter 5:7Questions to Reflect on: