Life feels complicated right now.
We remain, as human beings, in largely uncharted waters, and we are all trying to figure out together the next step to take. Part of the reason why this period of time is different is because COVID-19 has disrupted all of life. No arena has been untouched. That’s different because we may have had seasons of disruption in our past. We might have had a time when we lost a job. Or when a loved one was sick. Or when there was an economic downturn. Or when our kids were struggling in school. But in all those circumstances, there were some elements of life that were still the same. And so we had the luxury of stability in at least part of life, even as another part of life felt like it was turned upside down.
But not here. Not now.
Work is different. Home life is different. Parenting is different. Church is different. And with all those differences comes that feeling of complexity. We are constantly trying to figure things out, in all areas of life, and there are all kinds of varying opinions about what those areas of life should be like. And at least for me, that kind of complexity can be overwhelming. Faced with all the decisions, all the opinions, and all the change, it can feel like I’ve had one cup too much coffee – my head spins, my heart races, and I can easily try and seal myself off from the outside world and start to ignore everything that seems to be changing in the world around me.
If you’re feeling like that – when your heart is racing, your eyes are twitching, and you can’t tackle a single thing because there are so many single things, the psalmist has a good word for us both:
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you (Psalm 116:5-7, ESV).
The Lord preserves the simple.
Drink those words in with me for a second. The Lord God preserves the simple.
What does it mean to be simple? In our day and time, the word has a negative connotation. We have taken it to mean gullible and stupid. The simple are the naive who don’t understand the true ways of the world. They are the ones who are easily taken advantage of, and they smile all the while. But perhaps there is some good truth in our interpretation of that word. But that truth comes to me, and you if you’re feeling the weight of complexity, in the form of a difficult question:
Am I prepared to take God at His Word?
When I hear from the Lord that my acceptance in Him is sure and certain in Christ; when I hear from Him there is nothing left to prove because Jesus has proven it all at the cross; when I hear from Him that He will give me this day my daily bread; when I hear from Him that He knows how to give good gifts to His children even if we don’t recognize the goodness of the gift at the time; when I hear that nothing in all creation will separate me from the love of God in Christ…
Do I actually, and simply, believe it to be true?
Oh yes, the Lord does preserve the simple. And when complexity abounds today, then today is the moment to return to simplicity.