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This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

T Ford 6/6/2021 5:03 AM


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Image: Teresa Ford

We’ve all experienced sadness. Maybe your best friend let you down or moved away. Maybe your pet disappeared. Or your spouse or significant other fell out of love with you. Or, a parent’s worse nightmare, a child died. The last several months have been brutal in taking things away from us. We’ve lost the ability to travel without restraint. We’ve been told we can’t hug our friends. We have been denied the joy of worshiping with others. Many of us have lost loved ones in this pandemic. My mom passed away in a nursing home—without family at her side—because of COVID restrictions. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty beat down and I wish I’d never heard the phrases “social distancing” and “new normal.” I have a lot of questions. How long until we can throw away these masks? When will life get back to the way it used to be? Why is this happening? Will it ever stop? 

There is little doubt that we are hurting. We are grieving. We are broken. We feel like we are being pecked to death by hundreds of tiny ducks. So how do we cope when we are overwhelmed? How do we find peace in a world that is far from peaceful? I recommend prayer—even when I don’t know what to pray for. In Romans 8:26 (NRSV), the apostle Paul tells us that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” What a wonderfully descriptive phrase—sighs too deep for words. In other words, we don’t have to have the right words! God knows our needs, even when we don’t know what to pray for! What an appropriate verse for dealing with—ugh—the new normal.

The Psalms, many of which are prayers, also provide comfort for our brokenness. Psalm 38 (NRSV) tells us that “the Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.” In other words, we are not alone in our fear, confusion, and despair. In Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT), Moses encourages the Israelites—and us—saying “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” I love the image of God standing in front of me like a knight or a gladiator or an infantryman, holding a shield and sword and knocking my worries off of their feet, reminding me that I am not alone, no matter what

Are you worried? Discouraged? Broken? Have you fallen and you don’t think you can get up? Are you having trouble knowing what to say when you pray? Here’s the great news—God’s got you covered. Yes, even in the new normal. 


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T Ford
Teresa Ford is a retired high school principal and English teacher. She spent 30 years in public education, the last fifteen in educational administration. Her patience with adults is limited, but she can ignore teenagers for hours at a time. She and her husband have three adult children who live on opposite ends of the country, unfortunately in liberal states. Teresa enjoys reading, gardening, traveling, and a good (or even mediocre) glass of wine.

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