As a little girl, I spent many years separated from my mother. Long after, I would learn that she was battling addictions and past traumas I was then too young to comprehend. In light of those circumstances, I spent my time split between my grandparent’s and dad’s homes. When this transition was new to me, the nights at my grandparents were the hardest. I would lay awake crying out for my mommy, too young to understand where she was or why she was gone. I was afraid. To comfort me, my grandmother would sing for me. “Fear not for I am with you says the Lord.” Over and over she would sing this single line of truth.
In the last few weeks as a global pandemic has overtaken our society, many of us have been separated by time and distance from our loved ones. Whether by quarantine or social distancing, this virus has begun to ravage more than physical bodies. The dissonance and trauma caused by the stress of this virus will linger far longer than its symptoms. Much of this trauma will be a result of the separation of families through distance or death. Jobs have already been lost, threatening the livelihood and economic stability of every country. There is a looming fear around the world. Will I get the virus? Will my parents get the virus? How many more will perish? How much will we lose? How will we get through this?
That fear is not unfounded, but it also not unheard. It’s easy to wish or pray or hope that the all powerful God would wipe this pandemic off the map. While I don’t doubt the power of the Lord, more often than not, he shows his might through his people. The media overflows with statistics and information that drives fear deeper into our hearts. Yet nestled in Facebook and Twitter feeds are stories of communities stepping up to help each other, debtors wiping slates clean, medical staff working relentlessly, businesses prioritizing their staff over bottom lines, state leaders making difficult decisions, and the list goes on. The calming voice of the Father sings through his children as we take the hand of our neighbor, as we lift each other up, as so many become the voice for the voiceless.
There will be lasting scars from this pandemic, there will be holes in our hearts for those we have lost. But near or far, here or gone, we still have each other. We can all sing, “Fear not for I am with you.”