Seeking God Amidst a Pandemic, an Election, and the Rush of Life

Rising in the morning, knowing that COVID-19 still spreads, a presidential election looms, and I have something from 8:00 a.m until 10:00 p.m, sets me into survival mode most days. I set my sights on my 8:00 a.m class and create a checklist of where I have to be and at what time I need to be there. I brush my teeth while checking my calendar. 

But, can I be honest? I hate this way of life. I deeply desire to center my life on God, finding margin in my schedule to breathe and delight in Him, but I so often rely on myself for my source of strength to get there.

Paul wrote a letter to the Roman church a while back about God’s plan and purpose for saving sinners. In the seventh section of the letter, Paul talks about his desire to do what is right, his knowledge of what is right, but his lack of strength to do the right thing. 

Paul has moment here in this letter that I’m sure we all have had: “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:15-19). 

I want to do the holy thing. Because of your law, I know what the holy thing is. I do the sinful thing instead. Why? 

Is it only because I’m a sinner? 

Do I just need to try harder to do the right thing? 

Or should I give up on trying because I am a sinful being? 

Is God’s law impossible to follow? 

For me, and maybe for you too, I relate to Paul’s weary desperation for deliverance. I feel all too powerless everyday. Our friends are quarantined. Our nation is divided. Our only break from classes is on the same day as the Mountain Day Olympics. 

I’m weary. 

I want to do the holy thing. I know what the holy thing is. I do the sinful thing instead.

Paul writes later in the section that he is a “wretched man;” asking,  “who will deliver me from this body of death?” 

God’s law seems to have a way of always bringing us face to face with our wretchedness. A strange dichotomy exists here, then. Focusing solely on our wretched nature leads us to a path of either denying and becoming self-righteous, or being so broken down by knowing that we will never be “good” that we give up on following a God who seems impossible to please. 

But what if we take the focus off of what we can do for ourselves and places the focus on our deliverer? 

“Who will deliver me for this body of death?” 

I am learning that my inability to make time for Christ isn’t stemming from not knowing how to create space in my schedule. It’s not coming from me not wanting to spend time with Him. I learned how to use a planner and that still didn’t fix my problem. I didn’t need to just plan more or search for a deeper desire; I needed a savior. I needed help from the One who knows me most intimately. Because if I am relying on Christ to fill me, my own exhaustion doesn’t keep Him away. 

So, let’s try this together. I’m going to start my days by praying this prayer attributed to Saint Patrick. I’m going to wake up with enough time each morning to dedicate myself and my day to Jesus. I hope we can do it together. It only takes 3-4 minutes. 

 Everyday won’t be perfect—you’ll have days where you wake up late, or you aren’t feeling it. On those days, do it while you brush your teeth. Listen to it while you drive. (I’ll attach the podcast link there.)

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

of the Creator of creation.

“I arise today, through

God’s strength to pilot me,

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptation of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill,

afar and near.”

Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down,

Christ when I sit down,

Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

“I arise today 

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

of the Creator of creation.”

Peyton Isbell is a sophomore Religion major. She lives with Haley Ewald and in her free time enjoys playing with Aubrey Georgian’s dog & drinking coffee. She suggests you take a break and get an iced lavender latte at your earliest convenience.

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