Stone Soup for Five: biblical meditation in the midst of COVID-19

biblical meditation in the midst of COVID-19

I'm struggling to focus lately.  The news is just SO LOUD.  I'm stuck between ignoring it and being uninformed or not shutting it off and being over-informed.   I don't like either option.

Here in Oregon we've cancelled school, banned groups of 50+ people, closed restaurant dining rooms, and grocery stores have empty shelves, and of course no toilet paper.  We're fine, and I hope you are too, we're battening down the hatches and trying to be wise.  (Lucky for my last son at home, homeschooling continues on just as planned, regardless of what's going on in the world.)

I had already planned for this post in the biblical mediation series to be about tips to increase focus, and now I realize it can't come at a better time.  I can't keep a straight train of thought for long without it wandering to COVID-19 and all the repercussions.

For the last few mornings, when things amped up with the virus and public mandates, my Bible time has been a wreck.  I can't even really call it a Bible time.  But I'm going to write this post anyway because I need to preach it to myself.

I remember 9/11 very vividly.  My oldest boys were babies, and I had the TV on all day to get as much information as I could, the moment it came in.  I was shocked, overwhelmed, and really scared.
Our world changed overnight.

Then when the H1N1 virus made the rounds, I was terrified of having young, very dependent sons and no way to protect us from something so invisible and sinister.  I felt overwhelmingly helpless.

I knew then (and now) that God is in control, but that truth swirls around with a barrage of other thoughts and is hard to hear.  Fear is always louder than truth.  Truth speaks in a whisper and you have to lean in to hear it.

Meditation is leaning in.

Right now I know I'm leaning too far in to the news, worry, and fear.  Too much information is just too much and I can't hear anything else.  To lean in to meditation I have to make a plan, even if right now it will most likely be a poorly executed plan.  So I thought about it today and decided that if I give myself a half hour in the morning, maybe another 15 minutes at lunch, and a half hour in the evening, I know I'll be adequately informed.  Outside of those times I need to discipline myself to shut it off, get offline, and lean in to what I need to listen to and do for daily life.  If I don't have a plan, I've already experienced how easy it is for my mind to swirl out of control with the overwhelming COVID-19 news.

I listened to a podcast a long time ago about a family business that was facing bankruptcy and losing their house (they had 8 children, some of them still very young).  The mom who made the podcast said the only way she could make it through the day was to deal with what she could in the morning and evening, and for the rest of the day she would deliberately move on to what needed to be done in life.  When her thoughts started swirling and fear started yelling, she would stop and tell herself "This is not the time to worry about this." Sometimes even out loud.  And then force herself to get back to what she needed to do.

Maybe we should practice that kind of training for our minds.  Let's make a plan for when we will check, and grow in discipline in following it.  Telling ourselves "This is not the time to worry about COVID." and getting back to what we need to do.

We are living in an unprecedented time in history.  We can use this time or let it use us.  Just this morning it was a struggle to open my Bible to the next chapter and read through it then fill out my meditation journal page.  I didn't do it well, and I kept getting distracted, but with a pad of paper and a pen to write down random thoughts, I got through it and was able to lean in and see, yet again, God's character of faithfulness and love.

So instead of giving you another method of meditation this time, I'm going to encourage you just to keep practicing making space to lean in.  I've found three disciplines that have really helped me these last few days:

1.  Thankful journal
Start keeping a thankful journal.  Each morning sit down and write out three things you are thankful for.  I think back to the previous day and write three things from yesterday that I'm thankful for.  Just this simple practice, though really hard some days, has made it easier to see the many good, little blessings God gives.

2.  Meditate (however poorly) in spite of the loudness of the news
Like I said earlier, today I again didn't want to sit down and open my Bible when there were constant updates to read.  So, I tried my plan and gave myself a half an hour to scroll through the top headlines and then walk away.  (I literally had to get up and walk away and go into another room and pray for a calm mind before I opened my Bible.)

I opened my Bible, reading with starts and stops through the chapter.  I know this will be increasingly harder to do as numbers grow for the next few months, and I'll continue to try to discipline myself to excel still more.  No matter what is going on in the world, I know I need to lean in, cling to the truth, and renew my mind to be able to share truth and not fear with others.  I can't give what I don't have.  If I continue to lean in to the problems, I will never be able to live out the peace and confidence I have in Christ.

3.  Exercise

The very last thing I wanted to do yesterday (and today) was exercise.  There was so much to think about, so much to know (and obsess over).  But I made myself try to do my normal morning routine which included exercise.  And strangely as I was doing this, my thoughts seemed to line up and fall into some semblance of order.  I was able to exercise and my mind worked out the details of the day on the side.  It was kind of amazing.

What's your plan?  What will you do to limit the noise, and lean in to listen to the truth?  Share below so we can all work on calming our minds and leaning in to God in the midst of this global crisis.

See biblical meditation method one here.
and method two here.


  1. Thank you - good thoughts for this tense time

  2. Thank you Kari. Much love and gratitude to you for your walk with Him and your willingness to share with us.

  3. I am right there with you...not listening at all or can't tear myself away from it...Psalm 46 I repeat often to myself...God is in control. I took a walk today and did it with some speed a few seemed to burn the tension out of me. I am 68 with heart disease (genetically too high cholesterol and intolerance to statins) and asthma. So I am in THAT category but God has carried me through so many life threatening moments and I am still ticking. So each day I remind myself what God has done for me when I start in on those scary thoughts. One of my favorite verses is "Be Still and Know that He is God" and I am not talking about my bod, I am talking about my mind which can be a whirlwind of too much thinking. Walking definitely helps that and Prayer, sometimes I put the two together. Take care dear sister in Christ, he is watching over you and your family.

  4. Yes..."lean in, cling to the truth, and renew my mind to be able to share truth and not fear with others." Thanks for the encouraging words.

  5. I need this series right now! Thank you!

  6. Okay I will try this with a paper bible instead of online. I will start all over and start with Psalms. <3


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