Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

“This is very unsettling” were the words that I spoke to my husband after coming home from the store filled with nervous shoppers and empty shelves. No toilet paper, pasta, eggs or milk. The governor had just ordered the schools to close for two weeks and our church leadership announced that there would be no church services Sunday. I was suddenly hearing terms like COVID-19, pandemic, social distancing, shelter in place, community spread, and flattening the curve. It seemed that every day a new announcement was being made about testing, closings, PPE shortages, increases in cases and the difficult stories of those who lost loved ones to the virus. It seemed that this virus was affecting everything and everyone, turning our world upside down. In times like these people of faith find strength and comfort by gathering together and reaching out to others in need, yet this virus was even threatening these solaces with the plea to social distance. Where do you turn? What do you hold on to when it feels as though the earth is giving way? 

I so desire for my heart to be steady on the Lord and my faith unwavering in the midst of these events. But, I have found the uncertainty, sudden and disruptive announcements usher in disorganized thoughts, a distracted heart and the temptation to become enslaved by endless news cycles, Google searches, and YouTube videos to distract me from the grim reality resulting from COVID-19. These are alarm bells warning me not to coast or get caught up in the noise and chaos, but to be watchful over my heart and mind; stark reminders of my frailty and need for God’s mercy and grace.  The Psalmist proclaims that He will not fear even if the earth gives way because God is his refuge and strength. God is an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1-2). When my heart is carried away by the chaos caused by this virus, I need to turn away from the news and entertaining videos and turn to the Lord, my refuge and strength. More knowledge of the virus or entertainment isn’t going to give me the mercy and grace that I need to endure this time in faith! 

Hebrews 4:14-16 reminds me that I can receive mercy and find grace in my time of need when I call out to God in prayer and humble submission to Him. It further tells me that even in my weakened and sinful state, I can pray confidently that God will lovingly receive me because Jesus, my great high priest is interceding for me and understands my struggle; he was tempted in every way I am being tempted today but didn’t sin. This is an amazing truth because by turning to God, I am going to the only one who can enable me and show me how to endure this trial living by faith and not sin! Isn’t that the challenge we face today? Let us grow in our ability to endure these challenging times in faith by boldly going to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.

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