On the Side: April 2020
On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand
by Carol Shrader
One of the perks of moving around the country is that we have added a beautiful cast of friends to our family. We often joke that the “writer” of our family sitcom thought the cast needed to be jazzed up a bit when he brought certain characters into our storyline. We love the variety of loved ones who are brought to live life alongside us!
Today, I am feeling like the “writer” has taken our little family sitcom and changed it to a straight on drama, one with twists and turns no one ever anticipated. A life-threatening virus forcing a shortage of medical masks for our doctor husbands, a run on toilet paper and the closure of schools nationwide has engulfed us. We can talk of little else. We can think of little else. We are homebound for now. We are homeschooling for now. We are homeworking for now. We are seeing the best in people—have you seen the Bear Hunt going around? People all over the country are putting bears in their window so mamas can drive their littles around “hunting” them. Have you seen the entire community of crafters laying aside all other projects to sew masks? A local brewing company in our town has stopped production and is using their brewery to make hand sanitizer instead. Unfortunately, we are also seeing the worst—a man on the internet hoarded a U-Haul truck of hand sanitizer and tried to sell it for exorbitant amounts online. And don’t get me started on the people hoarding toilet paper leaving those of us who didn’t hoard running short on supply.
And most of us are sending our husbands out each morning to work at hospitals on the frontlines of dealing with this pandemic and then trying to figure out how to let them come home again safely without exposing us to anything they may have come in contact with. We are staring at them six feet away wanting a hug of assurance that all will be well so badly it hurts.
As far as drama goes, the “writer” has written quite the compelling storyline. But I’m not going to lie, I would really like to throw this particular drama away and revoke the writer’s privileges immediately.
Seriously, I am not trying to make light. My head is killing me from lack of sleep. I can stay upbeat and positive during the day (for the most part), but when my house has settled for the night, and I am in the bed in our youngest daughter’s room to avoid any germs that might be lingering on my husband, my brain will not turn off. I fret about how to take care of my guy if he DOES get sick. I fret about my children getting ill, especially my son who uses a wheelchair and doesn’t fight respiratory illnesses very well. I fret. And I fret. And if I do manage to drift off to sleep, I find that I am startled awake with a random terrifying thought minutes into the rest.
So today, I need to focus on the real writer of my life. I need to turn to the actual author of our faith:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV 1984).
I love that this version calls Jesus the author of our faith rather than the pioneer. And knowing that Jesus wrote my story brings me such peace. Listen, my sisters, as shocking as COVID-19 seems to us, Jesus is not shocked. He knows our story already. Let’s turn to Him.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27, ESV).
The Author of our story did not write a sitcom. He never once promised we would only have good times and laughter. As a matter of fact, here Matthew is quoting Jesus directly. Read it carefully: everyone who hears these words and does them. Jesus is saying it isn’t enough to glance at them in your Bible study— or this devotion. Instead, we have to put them to work in our life. We have to take His teachings and apply them because the rain is going to fall, floods are going to come, winds are going to blow and viruses are going to arrive, but when we are founded on the rock of Jesus and His teachings, our faith will not fall. It will not fall.
The rains and winds can bring anxiety, fear and doubts even when we have built our foundation on the rock of Jesus. But this is important: we have a weight-bearing community right here with our Side By Side sisters. Did you hear me? Here, right here, you have Side By Side sisters ready to stand with you in prayer to offload the weight of your storm so you can bear it. Reach out to us. Share your concerns, let us pray, let us find resources for you in your communities. That is one of the ways we work Jesus’ teachings into and through our life.
We need our sisters to help us during this long race. We need each other. I can’t help but smile at the urgency expressed in the Message version of Hebrews 12:1:
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit!!” (MSG).
Let’s get going, sisters. We can win this race.
Carol Mason Shrader
Carol Mason Shrader is looking on the bright side and celebrating her family of six all being under her roof. And she refuses to fret that having everyone home means the limited toilet paper supply has to go even further….