I have been suffering from a bit of pandemic-induced anxiety. It seems like every day, I get notified that someone else near me has tested positive for the Corona virus. The schools could close at any given moment due to staff shortages. Now my job is talking about calling us back to the office. All of that is rattling around in my head as I try to focus on whatever task is in front of me.
With all that noise, I’ve been finding it hard to hear the still small voice of God. In my prayer time, I struggle to stay connected. I string together a bunch of unrelated sentences, and I’m not even sure I ever say “Amen.” I just trail off, and then pick up the conversation again.
I’m reminded of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Martha, whom I identify with, probably more than any other character in the Bible, is going about the busyness of life, when Jesus basically calls her out.
“You are worried about many things.” Yes, Lord. I am.
One of the worst parts about this exchange though, is that Jesus never tells her specifically what to do. He doesn’t tell Martha to sit down with her sister. He doesn’t even tell Mary to get up and help (which is what Martha was really wanting.) He simply restated her problem, and told her that he would not resolve the problem the way she had hoped.
Jesus left everything up to Martha. He just pointed out an alternative way of thinking. Like a good friend, or a good therapist, Jesus, who had every right to judge, said to Martha, ” I hear what you’re saying, but have you considered this?” Martha, who was already distracted, now had
another thing to think about.
That’s what prayer is like for me sometimes. I go in with a laundry list of items, and I come out of it with an even bigger list. This biblical account tells me that it’s okay.
For everyone who, like Martha and myself, is worried about many things, know that Jesus hears our random, distracted prayers, too.