One of my favorite Christian musicians ever is Matt Maher. He’s well known for songs such as “Your Grace is Enough” and “Hold Us Together,” but I find myself listening more often to his lesser- known works.
In particular, there is a song he wrote called simply “Rest.” Countless hours of my life have been spent listening to this song in various situations where I find myself praying for rest.
I think rest is an underrated and less talked about word in the Bible, and it’s definitely something our world should key in on during this restless time.
Maher writes in this song, “Even though I walk through the valley of death/You restore my soul and you give me rest.” With worry and fear spreading surrounding COVID-19, many may feel like they’re walking through this valley of death. Lives are being lost daily to this deadly virus, and many people are at risk of contracting it.
Although this fear is swirling endlessly amongst people everywhere, Maher reminds us that in Christ, we can find restoration and ease these anxieties. Turning to God in this time of chaos can help clear our minds and focus on living generously and selflessly as we seek to help the afflicted and take care of ourselves and our families. In the valley of this virus, we can still find ways to live as Jesus did.
Another lyric that stands out to me is when Maher’s song states, “I will fear no evil for you’re here with me/Your goodness and your love, they will never leave.” Evil now lives not only as the fear of getting the novel coronavirus, but also in the resulting actions of people from this fear.
Selfishness is everywhere as people are stockpiling far beyond necessity for this pandemic, leaving many without resources. People with allergies and other various medical conditions are unable to obtain important items like sanitizing wipes because of the greed this situation has brought out in many. God tells us not to fear, for we are always in his presence and his love will always remain constant, regardless of this chaos.
The other half of this lyric focuses on the goodness and love of God. I’ve heard many of the jokes lately about how frustrating it can be to hear, “I’m sending my thoughts and prayers” in times of sadness and distress. I do think it’s funny to look at things with sarcasm sometimes, but this has made me realize the things people associate with prayer are not always accurate.
I don’t pray that God magically appears with the answers to this tragedy and cures all of their ailments, yet this sarcasm seems to paint this picture. What I and many others pray for are the blessings in our everyday lives and for the light of Christ to shine bright within small actions that help others.
My “thoughts and prayers” focus not on gigantic and instant changes, but rather on the grace of the Lord to be seen as we all cope with the troubling situations of finding help and security.
This might look like the alumni of Gannon reaching out to the school and asking if anyone in the Gannon family needs assistance, which I’m told has been done by many. It also may look like choosing to stay in when you have a cough and instead asking someone else to run out for groceries to lower the risk of spreading germs.
I think that focusing on this mindset of love and restoration is what many need right now, and God is always willing to give grace to those who are willing to accept it.
Pray to God for rest, but also be the one to help others in their restoration.