Are you feeling the “pain of the pandemic?” I hadn’t thought of being confined to home as painful, but a news commentator used that word. Home is my favorite place. I’d rather be there than anywhere else.

Since my two children and two grandchildren live out of state, I don’t see them often. We’re staying in touch the way we always do—through texts, email, and Skype. I connect with friends by phone or email. Coronavirus hasn’t blocked communication with people I love. Our church services are streaming live on FaceBook. Much of life is fairly normal—except for the isolation!

While being confined to home isn’t painful for me, being restricted from leaving home could be. There’s a need to purchase groceries. I’m grateful for online shopping.

If you’re feeling pain of the pandemic, let me suggest an ointment—the ointment of gratitude. Rub that all over yourself—gratitude for what God has done so far in your life.

If you’re feeling pain of the pandemic, let me suggest an ointment—the ointment of gratitude. Rub that all over yourself—gratitude for what God has done so far in your life. Click To Tweet

Take some time to reflect on the crises he has brought you through and the blessings he brought out of them. Thank him for doing what only he can do—turn heartbreak into rejoicing.

Notice the ointment of gratitude causes something crucial to surface—faith! Faith in the God who is in control. No circumstance is too hard for him. Looking back assures us he is able to handle anything in our future.

Gratitude and faith release confidence—confidence that the God who turned our worst-case scenario into celebration can do it again and again.

Gratitude and faith release confidence—confidence that the God who turned our worst-case scenario into celebration can do it again and again. Click To Tweet

As I pondered these thoughts, I received a note from my beloved friend, Karen McMurray, responding to last week’s blog, “Because Christ Lives, We Have Hope!” https://diannebarker.com/?p=1303.

“One of many reasons we have not had the stress that some have had in this unusual time is that we have seen God work through amazing problems. He’s been faithful, working them to His glory and our good every time. He is always faithful.”

Karen has an amazing family, and I asked her to elaborate on some of their trials and blessings. Her story will encourage you.

“As I think of times that I was sad or truly down, God was right there! My mom died at age forty-seven after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer. My son Brian was four years old and Travis, one. She really didn’t get to know Travis since by the time he was born, she felt so bad and spent little time with him. She never met our last son, Wesley. But she loved Brian so much. When she died, my husband Stan said no one in the world would ever love Brian that way again. It was true—but he has been very loved!

“I loved both my grandmothers so much and hated the thought that my children wouldn’t know that unconditional love which is so like God’s love for us. I’d see mothers with young children and their own mothers with them, enjoying the grandchildren, and find myself in tears. But Stan and I have been blessed with precious grandchildren to lavish our love. After Mom’s death, God also provided a wonderful step-mother, who was just the person Daddy needed for that time.

“In my mid-forties I discovered the reason for recurring pain in my hip joints. The socket had never been deep enough for the ball. Therefore, it had continued trying to make a deeper place. Over the years this caused dysplasia and arthritis, finally wearing the cartilage in the left hip, leaving bone on bone. Eventually I opted for a hip resurfacing, which went well as far as the hip was concerned, but the pain medicine following surgery caused my blood pressure to bottom out. The reaction was as if I had overdosed.

“A team came with medicine to counter the narcotic. I don’t remember much, but Stan said they squeezed the medication through as hard as they could to get it in my system and then moved me to ICU. He had already called our boys to let them know the surgery went well. He feared he’d have to call back saying I didn’t make it.

“While I was in ICU covered with blankets and heavily sedated, my left leg became trapped between the rail and mattress compressing the nerve just below the knee, deadening it to the big toe. I ended up with drop foot, causing intense pain.

“What was supposed to be an easy recovery took weeks to identify the problem and weeks of therapy. Finally, I was fitted with a leg brace and learned to use a walker and later a cane. I was afraid of falling or taking too much pain medicine. Doctors weren’t certain the nerves would recover. I assured them the nerves had to be very much alive to cause such pain. After ten months I could walk without the cane. The nerves continued to strengthen for nearly two years. Stan would try each day to see if there was any resistance in my toes. He was more excited than I was finally to see some movement!

“God was so gracious through all of this. Stan prayed aloud for me every day, and my grandchildren would tell me they were praying. I learned in a very real way that I am not in control of anything. I couldn’t even control my own foot, no matter how hard I tried. Only God is in control of our lives. He allows us to manage little pieces of it, but He controls it. And I’m okay with that.

“Stan and I married young and when our boys were young, we didn’t have the time or money to travel. God has blessed us so abundantly over the past several years that we’ve been able to travel with our sons and their families. We’ve made three mission trips to Kenya with Brian and Wes. On our last trip, both of their oldest sons (Jackson and Owen), went with us. For our second trip in 2014, we had all three sons and their wives—Brian and Blake, Travis and Erica, Wes and Jennifer—and three of our grandsons (Landon, Jackson, and Carter). Our family served with different groups and debriefed at the end of each day, sharing how we saw God at work.

“We traveled with Love Africa Missions but worked with many ministries, including Kenya Kids Can, Flow of Hope, Naomi’s Village, Little Lambs, and Cure Kids. Most of these programs work with children. On the 2014 trip eleven college students joined us.

“In 2015, our sons, their wives, and five of our grandsons (Landon, Jackson, Carter, Owen and Elliott) traveled to Honduras to work with ROOM, an organization involved with orphanages. It was such a joy to see our grandsons interact with children there. Besides spending time with the children, we did some painting and other small projects.

“Stan and I made a trip to the Holy Lands in 2017 with Christian Tours—such an amazing experience that we sent Wes and Jennifer the next year. In 2019 Wes led a group from his church in North Carolina, including his son Owen, who turned thirteen while in Jerusalem. Stan and I also went, along with Jennifer’s parents, Carl and Kathy Little.

“Walking in places where Jesus walked, visiting the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed, and seeing the empty tomb made Scripture come to life, but I didn’t need to see those places to believe. My faith, settled long ago, has carried me through every circumstance.

“Last September Stan and I celebrated fifty years of marriage with a trip to Egypt. There have been lean years and a few difficult roads, but our family has been blessed. We’ve made adjustments due to COVID-19, getting together through Zoom meetings on Friday nights, all eighteen of us online.

“Listening to the Gaither song ‘Because He Lives’ on Easter Sunday reminded me that all of the troubles and all of the blessings we have on this earth cannot begin to compare to eternity with Christ. God is so good! His mercies endure forever!

“One of my favorite verses is Psalm 46:10. ‘Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.’ First, this teaches me to be still, and then to know that He is God—and I am not! He will be exalted among all people, not just me and my little world. Time after time God has come through for us. He is always faithful.”

Thanks, Karen, for a perfect illustration of how this ointment works.

Gratitude. Faith. Confidence. Just the ointment needed for the pain of the pandemic—and everyday life.

Each of us has a story. Our circumstances differ, but one fact is the same: God brought you through the worst, and he is adequate for whatever lies ahead. Knowing that eases all pain.

God brought you through the worst, and he is adequate for whatever lies ahead. Click To Tweet

I’d love to hear about the circumstances that taught you who is in control. And I’d be grateful if you’d share this with your friends.

© Dianne Barker 2020

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