by Katie Julius

Last fall when our team began brainstorming ideas for promoting our Annual Homeschool Convention and compiled a list of words for each letter of the alphabet, the word we settled on for this week was Peace. Originally, our intent was to highlight peace in the context of peace amongst believers and homeschoolers, no matter what your home education experience looks like. There has been so much divisiveness within the homeschool community, including that of believers. We felt it was so important that it drove our selection of the theme verse of Romans 14:19. We felt God leading us to exhort our attendees to pursue “the things that make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”

Little did we know what the months leading up to this year’s Convention would hold for us. Things so unprecedented that the world has all but come to a complete halt and our lives look so vastly different than just a few short days ago. Things that have brought fear. Uncertainty. Worry. Panic.

As I sat down to write this post, the reality of our current situation weighing heavy on my heart, Romans 14:19 came to mind. But, instead of “pursue” jumping out to me, God kept drawing my attention to the word “peace” in this verse. But how could I possibly have peace with all that’s been going around us? It has been a world filled with chaos.

Like you, the last few days have probably felt like a few weeks. Orders and recommendations from a variety of authorities have sent our world into a frenzy and our heads are spinning as we try to adjust to what will be our new normal. Duration unknown.

As a planner, it was hard for me as each item on our calendar was canceled; each event postponed. Indefinitely. It’s hard to grasp what our lives will be like in the coming weeks. I was frustrated. My daughter’s birthday plans all went out the window. When you are turning eight, that’s a pretty big deal. It was hard to see her disappointment (though we did manage one last hurrah dinner out on Saturday evening to celebrate). I was angry. How could this be happening to us? How could this be happening to those who have weddings, graduations, once-in-a-lifetime trips planned? It’s not fair.

I am concerned about my family’s future. My husband works for a natural resources company (oil) and while everyone is enjoying the heavily reduced gas prices, those same prices threaten job stability. They’ve already said the negative economic impact from this virus will likely be great and that’s a scary thing to face. I work for a non-profit that relies heavily on donations to operate. When there are economic troubles, it’s not uncommon for donations to decline as expendable income declines. These are scary times. Maybe you are experiencing some of these feelings or your family is facing financial uncertainty, too.

As the weekend wore on, I remained frustrated, though I had resigned myself to the fact that there was absolutely nothing I could do to change our situation. It would be better to accept what was happening to us, begin to make the best of it, and start looking for the silver lining.

Then, Sunday came. We set up the live feed from our church’s Facebook page on our TV and listen in as one of our teaching pastors continued our study of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt to the Promised Land. This week … the battle against the Amalekites. Despite hearing the story of the Exodus and wandering in the wilderness, I had never heard this part of the story. If you want to read the full account, check out Exodus 17, but the gist of it is that only through prayer were the Israelites able to defeat the Amalekites (scholars say Moses raising his arms was a form of prayer … and notice he had others helping him when he couldn’t do it on his own anymore).

Just as the battle against the Amalekites was not their own, neither is our battle today. Whatever your feelings may be today–fear, anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, anger, sadness, mourning–the battle belongs to the Lord. By taking these feelings to Him in prayer, we are simply joining Him in that battle.

Perhaps another verse that God has laid on my heart this weekend will be of some comfort to you as you meditate on it in the coming days and weeks. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

We don’t have to understand how we could possibly experience peace in the midst of this global crisis, In fact, Paul tells us that it surpasses our understanding. We simply are not able to understand. We have to come before God. Cast our cares upon Him. Give Him our worries. Kneel before Him. Present our requests. He alone can give us that peace that will get us through.

Do you need help holding up your arms to God in prayer? CHEA gathers every Monday morning to pray. If you would like to be added to our prayer list, please email us with your request at [email protected].

May you and your family embrace this time together to reconnect and deepen your relationships with one another as you seek God in all you do. May you experience the peace of God, no matter what situation you find yourself in.