This summer is different than any we’ve ever experienced. We’re separated by physical barriers like masks, screens, glass shields, and at least six feet of space. We’re under some form of quarantine or curfew or both. But these physical barriers don’t change the way that we, as God’s children are one body, united in Christ
Yes, health restrictions due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, mean my kids’ teachers waved goodbye at the end of the school year via Zoom and the pizza delivery person sets our pizza on our doorstep, rings the bell, and walks away, before I can even thank them. But our hands aren’t tied. We still have free will. We’re still God’s people. And His greatest commandment is still to love—to love Him, the Lord, our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love one another (Luke 10:27).
Love one another. We might have to get creative and inventive, but we can still do this. It’s actually pretty fun.
We can still send a note to teachers thanking them for all they did to make online or unconventional year end learning a success for our kids. Don’t worry. If we haven’t yet, it’s not too late. We can leave a more generous tip on the credit card for our delivery guys and gals. If our funds are low, we can make a thank you sign and stick it to our front door for them. Yes, our church family is worshipping apart in individual homes, but we’re still all watching the same Livestream on Sunday mornings. We still have the power to text and call each other about the sermon, sing the worship songs out loud in our family rooms and meet online or in small groups in parking lots or patios to pray for one another and share how God is on the move in our lives.
Yes, we’ve lost so much. In our house we’ve lost a graduation, a play, three spring sports seasons, a trip to Israel to name a few. Many friends have lost so much more—jobs, income, loved ones. But our God is still God and He’s still in control. He still loves us. All of us. He hasn’t forgotten a single one. A reminder of this is the hymn, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” Did you ever sing it when you were younger? Google the lyrics and you’ll find several different versions, but most include, “he’s got you and me brother, in his hands,” and “he’s got everybody here, in his hands.” Me and you and everybody. That means even in these turbulent times none of us are left out of God’s love and protection. He has the whole world in his hands.
A fun part about this song is you can insert anyone into the lyrics and it still applies. You try. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- He’s got blacks and whites in his hands.
- He’s got republicans and democrats in his hands.
- He’s got teachers and students in his hands.
- He’s got the whole world in his hands.
- He’s got singles and families in his hands.
- He’s got front line workers and shelter-in-placers in his hands.
- He’s got Amazon drivers and Prime-customers in his hands.
- He’s got the whole world in His hands.
Sure, some of these lines are catchier than others, but they all apply. God’s holding onto all of us despite our location, status, race, or situation.
As the Apostle Paul explains it in his letter to the Colossians:
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. —Colossians 3:11 NIV
This is such good news. None of us have been forgotten. And we get to be part of God’s plan for loving the whole world. How cool is that? We can be intentional about loving our neighbors, so they can know that God sees them, so they can feel His loving hands around them. Even though we can’t gather as we hoped or interact how we’re used to, we’re actually all still together in our loving Father’s hands, protected, safe, loved, and united.
Best-selling author and speaker Laura L. Smith grew up singing old hymns in her traditional church, then rushing home to count down the rest of the Top 40 on Billboard’s music charts with Casey Kasem. Smith loves all kinds of music, and although she can’t carry a tune, she’s often seen singing or dancing around her house. Smith speaks around the country sharing the love of Christ with women at conferences and events. She lives in the college town of Oxford, Ohio with her husband and four kids. Her newest title, How Sweet the Sound, releases in August. Connect with her on Instagram @laurasmithauthor and at www.laurasmithauthor.com