"I'm finding it hard to settle to anything."
"I can only think about what's happening this week - at the most."
"I just wonder when it will end."
"I feel bad that I keep getting irritable with my children - and about such small things."
"This guy came into the shop and wouldn't stop yelling at us when we couldn't take his voucher for a newspaper."
"I can't listen to the news any more. It's not just all the bad news: I can't take the anger and criticism that come with it."
These are just some of the comments made during conversations I've had since February. I wonder if they sound familiar.
A friend and I were talking recently about the seven stages that have been described as commonly experienced by people after a loss. They seem all too relevant to our life in lockdown:
shock and disbelief;
anger and bargaining- "if this ...if that";
depression, loneliness, reflection;
reconstruction and working through;
I find I can cycle through a few of them in just a day.
And with all this on my mind, I've found it quite hard to connect with God.
I try to read a Psalm every morning, but often realise halfway through that I'd already read that one a couple of days ago, and the two after it!
And yet I wonder if this is part of the meaning of this difficult season of our lives. From all I know of God, from the great teaching I've received about him down the years, from my efforts to read his Word, from the countless prayers he's answered, I know beyond a shadow of doubt that he is watching each one of us right now. And he is longing - yes, longing- for us to seek him through all the clamour of this time, even when it's a struggle. And even when that clamour is within our own minds and hearts.
Perhaps you're just glancing up at him, wondering if he's there. He longs for you to reach out to him, get to know him, and receive the future he wants for you.
Perhaps you've known him for years, and he wants you to go deeper with him.
Perhaps he's asking to search your past and do business with you about some issues there. Have you found memories coming into your mind? Situations that weren't resolved? Someone you couldn't forgive? Things you wish had been different? Wrong turns you made? He longs to bring his light into them, and work through them with you.
Or perhaps he's wanting to hear you thank him for things you take for granted - home, family, food on the table.
If, at this testing time, you're becoming all too keenly aware of your faults, he longs for you to be restored each time you fall short, not soldier on, feeling worse.
He may just long to see the pure gold that is your faith in him, as you sit at his feet.
If any of these thoughts strike a chord, persevere. This could be the time for a deeper and wider journey of faith with the living God.