Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, and that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26
Last summer I spent nearly three months in Norwood, Massachusetts, striving to entertain my much beloved grandson (age 6 years) while both parents worked from home. Because of the virus, we could not go into Boston to the museums, or have play dates with friends. Playgrounds were closed. The petting zoo was closed. There seemed to be little to do to entertain a gregarious only child under the circumstances. We often walked to Norwood Common to get ice cream, and twice we ventured out to pick blueberries – masked, and with each group of pickers carefully spaced. But Grammy did her best, and I sincerely hoped that no one on their busy street noticed my chubby, elderly, arthritic self running (I use the term loosely) around with a big stick trying to zap the imaginary bad guys, or herding a large group of imaginary flamingos through the yard. And I was totally a mess at driveway hockey. It seemed to me that I was a poor substitute for other six-year-olds. Many mornings my prayer was something along the lines of, “O God, please help me get through this day with patience and energy.”
But as the summer was coming to an end, and Grammy was making plans to return to North Carolina and Grandiddy, I began to notice that as we walked to the ice cream shoppe, he would slip his hand into mine as we walked along. He began to ask for me to read to him at bedtime – a job most often reserved for Mama – and would slip close beside me on the couch.
I left and came home to New Bern. It took me a couple of weeks to recuperate. His school started (two days per week in person, three days on line with his little pod of three children). And then one day I got an email from his daddy that included a picture that beloved grandson had drawn. It seems that his school teacher had asked them to draw and label a picture of something that made them excited. Under the question “What makes you excited?” he had written, “When Grammy comes.” And the picture was of us two together in the hammock under the giant maple trees in their backyard.
Sometimes the Lord answers prayers that we do not know how to say. Sometimes we don’t even know what to ask for. I recall the father of a friend of mine from Marshville was severely injured at work. His life hung in the balance. And his wife, weeping, remarked, “I just don’t know how to pray for him.” In these unusual times, there are days when we just let the Spirit intercede for us. And we trust in the Lord, that, in the words of Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
Lord, thank you for the Spirit that keeps us company through the dreary and lonely days of our lives. We are grateful that that Spirit knows our hearts even when we do not. Help us trust in your love, mercy, and grace in all our circumstances. Amen
Pastor Rachel Moser