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Finding Meaning in Crisis Through Solitude with God

  • 2020 Apr 02
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Joe Buck has one of the best-known voices in America. He has called twenty-two World Series and six Super Bowls. The son of legendary announcer Jack Buck, he is ubiquitous in the world of sports broadcasting.

Now you can have his voice on your home videos. 

People are sending him videos of dogs chasing each other in an empty field, chickens on a seesaw, and an airline employee guiding a plane to its gate. For each, Buck provides his very funny personal analysis. 

This is his way of helping people deal with the anxiety and loneliness of these days. 

Advice from "the world’s foremost expert on grief"

One of the most-read articles ever on Harvard Business Review is an interview with David Kessler on the grief we are feeling in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The article describes Kessler as “the world’s foremost expert on grief.” 

He notes that “we’re feeling a number of different griefs. We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different. ... The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.”

In addition, we’re feeling what Kessler calls “anticipatory grief,” which he defines as “that feeling we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain. ... There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. ... I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as small groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.”

When asked what we can do to manage such grief, Kessler applies the well-known stages of grief: “There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance: This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.” 

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Kessler adds a sixth stage: meaning. He explains: “I did not want to stop at acceptance when I experienced some personal grief. I wanted meaning in those darkest hours. And I do believe we find light in those times.”

What it means to seek God’s "face"

The US topped one thousand coronavirus deaths in a single day for the first time yesterday. Officials say the daily death toll could more than double by mid-April. 

While Navy ships are helping treat the sick in New York and California, another ship is in the news for the opposite reason: the US Navy will remove the majority of USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew so the aircraft carrier can be disinfected. The ship’s captain sent an urgent note when COVID-19 broke out among his crew: “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating. Decisive action is required.” 

How can we find meaning in such frightening days?

USS Theodore Roosevelt during an airpower demonstration. March 22, 2015. Public domain.

This week, we are responding to a crisis we’ve not seen in a century by seeking a spiritual awakening we have not seen in a century. We’re exploring the familiar text: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). 

On Tuesday, we discussed the foundational urgency of humility, admitting that we need what only God can do. Yesterday, we focused on his call to pray, noting that the Hebrew calls us to continued intercession for and with each other. 

Today, let’s think about our Father’s call to “seek my face.” “Seek” translates the Hebrew baqash, which means to search out or to run hard after. “Face” translates paniym, which denotes the personal presence of God. To “seek my face” is to pursue an intimate, personal, passionate relationship with our Father.

"Make a daily journey to Calvary"

These days of distancing from others are extraordinary days to grow closer to our Lord. Many of the distractions in our busy lives are gone for a season. We can redeem the solitude of these weeks by using it to seek our Father’s face with greater intensity and purpose than ever before. 

I urge you to make a daily appointment with your Lord to be alone with him. Read his word; meditate on his creation; sing songs of praise; listen to his Spirit; journal what he says to you. 

To advance the spiritual awakening our culture urgently needs, and for the joy of your soul, seek his face.

As Holy Week begins in three days, these are especially powerful days for spiritual renewal. In her blog this week, my wife invites us to “make a daily journey through the streets of Jerusalem to the hillside of Calvary. I want us to walk with Jesus this week and see him as he struggles to carry his cross. I want to witness all that Jesus endured for my sake. I want to see Jesus ‘high and lifted up’ for my salvation. I want to remember what happened so I can understand what matters.”

Then, in reference to the famous hymn, Janet writes, “I want to ‘turn my eyes upon Jesus and look full in his wonderful face.'”

When last did you seek the face of your Father? When will you today?

Publication date: April 2, 2020

Photo courtesy: Ava Sol/Unsplash

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