The Times That Try Our Souls

“Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26: 2-3 NIV 

In 1776, as our country was struggling to become independent, Thomas Paine wrote these words: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” 

These times are trying my soul. I am led to read scripture daily, to meditate on the teachings of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I have read and heard the gospels many times during my faith journey. Yet, at this time, I am seeing and hearing thoughts and words as if I never heard or saw them before. Sometimes I am wondering why this is so? The words are familiar and comforting. In my mind, I realize I have entered a new phase of spiritual wisdom and understanding as was promised by our Lord, Jesus Christ if I remained faithful to Him. 

Over the last several months, I have sensed that the world and I were in a state of transition. I shared these thoughts with my friends in January. I did not know at that time, how life in our country, would be changed forever. Even in my wildest dreams, I could not conceive that the citizens of the world would be experiencing a level of traumatic stress unseen since the events of September 11, 2001. 

Many are asking why and wondering what will become of us. Fear of the unknown permeates throughout us during these confusing times. For me, various emotions surface at different times in different ways. What I know to be true, is that these strong feelings that make me feel fearful and unsettled, must be expressed to others. Without that, I am subject to entering the depth of depression. I once lived in that state without hope. If it is God’s will, I do not choose to reenter that time in my life. 

I know I am not alone. I am being called to write words that I hope may bring comfort to others as I process my own challenging thoughts. What sustains me is unconditional love—the love of family and friends, my soul sisters and brothers who share with me fear and hope simultaneously. 

Over the last week, I am spending more time in contemplation and choose to be intentional in how I spend my time. I know, in my heart, if I focus on my fears, I will not find that peace that passes understanding. I am grateful that I have been given this time of contemplation without the distractions of everyday life that keeps interfering with my serenity. 

I once believed that obtaining serenity was an impossible dream. That dream can be realized by turning my life and my will over to the care of God, as I understand him. I invite you to come along with me on my journey. 

Dear Heavenly Father: Please bless all those in your kingdom who are now working in service to humanity —health care workers, food store personnel, cashiers and those who stock shelves and deliver our food. We lift up gas station attendants, bankers and civil leaders who must set limits and boundaries for our citizens who are unable to do so for themselves. Remember ALL who work as Christian soldiers in your kingdom. We ask together for strength to help and guide one another through our difficulties. These things we ask through your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Janet A. Siry, LCSW Child of God
March 21, 2020