Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
My morning routine on quarantine is a little bit of a juggling act. Jessica spends much of her night up and down caring for our new baby, Marshall. So I typically have the morning shift of baby holding and making breakfast for the teenager and getting him started on his online schoolwork. Sometimes, I'm holding Marshall, sometimes he's in a carrier, and now and then he will let me set him down in the mechanical swing. Mostly, he just doesn't want to be on his back. It upsets his tummy. But we think also that after nearly a week in the NICU and almost never being held, he never wants us to put him down. And we don't want to.
This morning was one such morning. I needed to get a breakfast made, so I set him down in the swing. He'd been cuddled against me for an hour already and my shirt was warm. As I laid him in the cold swing, it occurred to me that he would wake soon at the discomfort. So I slipped off my t-shirt and tucked him in with it as a blanket. I've read that both infants and pets do better with separation when they have an article of your clothing that smells like you. I hoped the warmth and smell would calm him. It did.
What he needed was to know I was near. The nearness of God is a comfort to us. It is well and good to know God loves us and sees us. But our greatest comfort comes in God's nearness, in the reminders of God's existence and love and support. As parents and grandparents, as family and friends, we can be that nearness for one another. We train Stephen Ministers and pastors and elders and deacons and teachers and coaches for this too. Remember when you visit or call someone, you are the nearness of God in the flesh.
We have received meals and visits, calls and messages, gifts and cards and even a prayer shawl. We have known God's nearness. We can't wait to share it and pass it on. Be comforted by those who love you and be near to those in need.