Finding Joy Amidst this Pandemic
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
Psalm 137 brings a serious, heartfelt reflection to my soul.
As Israel was on exile, they longed for home. They missed the freedom of being able to do the things they enjoy in Jerusalem because it was taken away from them by their rampaging enemies. As if it is not enough, their enemies made a mockery out of their suffering by forcing them to sing songs about their homeland while being under chains in a country not their own.
Having lived in different places, I know the feeling of missing home. It is not usually the grand things that brings this yearning, but it is the seemingly small things that I have taken for granted; the casual walk down the rough road, the unrestrained laughter with friends and the sunset from my favorite spot.
As if it is not enough, this pandemic came to mock this yearning for home. Now, I am a captive, severely limited from moving around. However, a question began to stir up deep within my heart: where is home? If Israel’s home is Zion where the temple of God resides, where is my home? Is home a certain place in this world that can satisfy this endless discontented soul?
Zion became home for Israel because it is where they think the presence of God resides. The book of Acts 7:48 says these words, “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands…” This tells me that my home is not located in a certain place, but it is anywhere where my spirit can commune with God. My home is with Jesus – wherever He calls me to be – because He is the only One that can deeply satisfy the endless void in my heart.
I must admit that I miss the things that I am able to do prior to being imprisoned by this pandemic. I miss the intimate fellowship; the handshakes, the warm hugs and the rubbing of shoulders while singing, “How Great is Our God”. However, these things must not cause me to waver in my faith in Jesus because His presence is everywhere. Home can be anywhere with Jesus. But if I forget Jesus in this pandemic, drowning in worry and fear, then like Israel, I will also say this, “may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jesus my highest joy”.