Jesus - I Know You Are Near

September 4, 2020

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by Kelly Mescher Collins

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard. I can’t think of one single person who hasn’t experienced loss in some shape or form. 

The derecho Iowa “hurricane” added insult to injury – blowing down trees, flattening crops and damaging the dignity of many. The weathered, beat up properties now reflect the morale of many during this very long year of 2020. 

In the three days my husband and I were without power and seven days without internet (and counting), I began wondering what message God was sending his people in such unprecedented times? 

During this week without power and internet, I felt transported back in time to my childhood on the farm. It was a simpler time. 

Raised on a farm in west central Iowa – before internet and streaming services, no air conditioning and no cable on our one television – it was relatively easy to hear and see God. And there were always reasons to depend on him.  

Such is the case after the derecho. No power means no air conditioning. It also means no television or internet – not even on our phones since a nearby cell tower took a hit. Admittedly, my husband and I were a little bored at first. 

Yet, these are perfect breeding grounds for finding God. Much like my upbringing, there were few distractions and a strong desire to lean on and connect with our Creator. 

Growing up, my siblings and I merely had to step outside to see God at work. His creation was everywhere – blooming flowers, chirping birds, domestic and wild animals, towering trees and growing crops. As a child, I often wandered into the mysterious groves on our property to further explore and be at one with nature and our Creator.

I crave those simple times of my past. And here it was, “forced” upon me, and surprisingly – welcomed. I relished the lack of distractions and noise – both audible and digital (excluding my neighbor’s generator). 

My appreciation for nature – the beautiful sunrise, rabbits hopping through the yard in the early morning hours, and yes, even the squirrels hanging upside down as they eat out of our bird feeders,  gives me an even greater appreciation for their Creator – our Creator.

It reminded me of the simplicity of the Lord – and his ability to reach us where we are. 

A week prior (electricity and internet still intact) I was scrolling through Facebook at 6 a.m. to discover St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines’ live Eucharistic adoration. I felt a tugging at my heart to stop and stay for a little while. For months, I had been consistently seeking a deeper closeness with Jesus amid uncertain times and difficult situations. And here he was again, inviting me in. 

I stopped scrolling and sat with Jesus in the Eucharist for over 30 minutes. And let me tell you, his presence (though online) penetrated my being. I know many say Mass is not the same online. But that was not the case with my Eucharistic adoration experience. The Lord was therewith me – intimately. Just the two of us. I have since thought of it as “Facetiming” with my Creator. Jesus met me where I was at that morning – unexpectedly – yet extremely welcomed. 

And I have no doubt that if you turn down life’s volume a notch or two and look around you’ll find that Jesus is with you in many unexpected ways, too – ready to meet you where you’re at. 

Kelly Mescher Collins is multimedia journalist at the Diocese of Des Moines.