Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: Coronavirus

Struggle vs. surrender

The Struggle is Real

Struggle vs. surrender words

With my second book, The Merchant’s Yield, launching, I feel like a mother sending my young son to his first sleepover or off to his first year of college (which will happen sooner than I realize). My nerves are twisted in knots, and all I can do is pray it will be received well. You never feel so helpless than when you have to surrender up something you love.

But I couldn’t imagine a better place for it to be than in God’s hands.

Fanny Jane Crosby, the composer of the well-known hymn “Blessed assurance,” was born blind. Not only did she write over 9,000 hymns, but her life was also an example of trusting God and walking by faith. Despite the hardships of being blind, she considered her blindness a blessing:  

Hymnals in church pews

“It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.” (Franny Crosby: America’s Hymn Queen, Christianity.com, April 2010)

Franny Crosby never started writing a hymn without praying first.

I was recently asked why God wasn’t stopping the coronavirus. Tough question. I mentioned about the earth being cursed. When sin entered the world, so did death, but then an awareness hit me. I questioned if they’d prayed to God to stop it?

At that moment, I had to check myself. Sure, I’d prayed for protection over my family and friends, but had I asked God to put an end to the virus?

James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you have not asked God.”

You better believe I’ve started asking. Can God stop the coronavirus tomorrow? Yes, He could. God’s arm is never too short. Will He stop it tomorrow? That, I don’t know, but I do know the prayers of the righteous avail much, and if we’re praying, God will be merciful.

This, too, will pass, but in the meantime, God will use it to draw His children to Him. The virus is a reminder that this is not our home. We are temporary residents—missionaries on a strange planet. Our home is in heaven, where there is no sickness, death, or disease.

I saw written on a T-shirt, “The struggle is real, but so is God,” and I couldn’t help thinking, how true. I have blessed assurance because I know God is real. He never wastes a hurt, and He certainly isn’t about to overlook this one.  

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Love and hate heart

The Opposite of Love isn’t Hate

Love and hate heart

My middle son had to pick something up from his locker at school, so I drove him during this time of social distancing. As he got out of the car, another boy was entering the school who recognized him. The boy’s face lit up, and he waved with and exuberant, “Hi Jim—” but then he stopped. It was as if he realized he wasn’t supposed to be near people or even speak to them. He dropped his hand, lowered his gaze, and continued into the school as somber as if attending a funeral.

The next day, I made a grocery store run. It was pretty chaotic. People eyed me as if I was holding a knife on them. When I reached to grab an item, a woman who’d been standing nearby jumped out of the way as if I’d suddenly caught fire.

As a business owner, my husband feels like he’s going into battle every day. He’s making tough decisions and doing what he believes is best for the long-term to keep as many people employed as possible. However, not everyone thinks it’s the right decision. He says his days recently have turned into 70% managing people’s emotions and 30% working on the company activities.

We are living in a strange time.

It’s as if other people pose a threat to our existence. However, people are not our enemies. As it says in Ephesians 6:12, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

man sitting alone on bench

Isolation may be the best way to save as many lives as possible, and I’m not saying go against the current protocols, but I think it’s wise to bring to light some things we should be conscious of so that we can protect ourselves from sneak attacks.

It has always been the devil’s best tactic to separate individuals from their herd so they can be easily picked off. Being alone allows doubts to creep in. It’s where a person can be attacked, maybe not by a virus, but by fears, insecurities, and vulnerabilities. In the confinement of our man-made safe haven, it can feel as if nothing can touch us.

Sometimes, not even God.

But this is a lie.

There is no place we can go where God can’t reach us.

God’s arm is never too short (Isaiah 59:1).

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

Mark Batterson, in his book, Chase the Lion, says, “The opposite of love isn’t hate. The opposite of love is fear.”  Even hate can join people together, but fear isolates. Evil does its best to use fear to try to drive out love.

However, 1 John 4:8 reminds us, “God is love,” and God will not be moved. The devil may think he’s winning, but this is when God’s love shines through us, and we see it in greater online church attendance, in Christians who are grocery shopping for those who can’t leave their houses, financial support to those in need, and by texts and phone calls to check in on the lonely.

What opportunities do you have to reach out to those who might be feeling alone and frightened?

If you are feeling alone, please email me. I’d be more than happy to encourage you or connect you to others. https://lorridudley.com/contact/

child's surprised face

God Never Gasps

Surprised face

While we panic and run out to stock up on toilet paper because we didn’t see this pandemic coming, we can be reassured God did. God is all-knowing. There are no surprises for Him.

 In October of 2001, I remember sitting at my desk and the phones not ringing for months. The world was still in shock after the 9-11 terrorist attack, and commerce had shut down. My husband and I had just purchased our first home, and his business was still in the toddler stages. No phone calls meant no customers, which meant no income to pay the new mortgage or other incoming bills.

To quote Dickenson, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

I say this because it was the 9-11 realization that evil existed in the world and it was trying to kill us that drove my husband and myself to find God. We warily stepped into church seeking answers, hope, and connection, and God met us at the door like an old friend with open arms.

God didn’t create the terrorist attack, nor did he create the coronavirus, but He will use it for His good. As I look back, I can see how his hand has been preparing things within my sphere of influence behind the scenes.

  • Within the last year, my church felt compelled to launch an online campus. With Massachusetts not allowing gatherings over 25 people, we were able to hold church at home.
  • A year ago, I started writing The Merchant’s Yield, which has a main character who struggles to release the fear of sickness and death to God after moving to an island where disease is prevalent. Little did I know how relevant it would be today, and I’m praying it will get into the hands of people who need encouragement and the message that we can’t live in fear.
  • In the past six months, my husband took on the financial costs of hiring a Chaplin service for our employees who needed prayer, and it has been utilized significantly, especially recently.  

Could these be coincidences? Perhaps. But, then I remember how Jesus stood whipped and beaten to the point of death. He’d been nailed to a cross, experiencing a pain I can’t even imagine, but He called out to the disciple John, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27). While His lifeblood was being poured out for us, He was arranging for the care of his mother, Mary.

God is working. He knows every detail, every need. He doesn’t drop the ball. Evil may work to create chaos, but God turns all things around for His good (Romans 8:28).

We need to seize the opportunity. Now is the time to text, call, or use social media to reach out to those who are scared. We have a chance to be the hands and feet of Christ. God has prepared us for this moment. Fear may rule them, but we know God is in control. The world craves the peace we have, and God has given us an opening to talk freely about our eternal perspective. Now’s our chance to checkmate evil.

“For we are to God, the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” – 2 Corinthians 2:15

Hands holding earth

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Black and white drawing of the boogieman

God is Bigger than the Boogieman

Black and white drawing of the Boogieman

If you were a Veggie Tales watcher, I’ve just gotten this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Two of my kids have had issues with nightmares when they were little. They’d scream, “Mommy!” or come running into my room and wake me up. There was no rhyme or reason to their nightmares. They hadn’t watched a scary movie or read a mystery book before bed, but they’d be scared to the point of visibly shaking. While I didn’t love my children having nightmares or waking up in the middle of the night, it allowed me an opportunity to sit down and tell them about how God’s love for them shines brighter in darkness, and He’s more powerful than any boogieman.

In The Merchant’s Yield, the hero, Nathan, struggles with his view of God. Nathan had a curse spoken over him when he was a young man, and it continues to plague him as he gets older. He wages an inner faith battle to determine what/who he believes is stronger, a curse, or God.

Girl in woods with oversized wild beast

It might be easy to say God is bigger than a silly curse, but we must take a deeper look at ourselves. Do we believe God is bigger than a doctor’s diagnosis? How about poor test scores that make you seem unqualified? Is God bigger than harsh words spoken by someone you admired, a friend, or a spouse? Is God bigger than your worries, fears, the Coronavirus?

In Matthew 9:14-29, A father brought his son to receive healing from Jesus. His son had seizures, lost his speech, and at times the episodes threw him into fire or water. I can imagine his father had already taken him to every possible doctor and had tried every available medicine. The boy’s father heard about this carpenter, Jesus, who could heal, and so he held onto the hope that this might be a chance to save his son. The father tells Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

Jesus, being God, would have known all the past letdowns the father had already faced. He would have seen the war between desperation and doubts in the man’s heart, and Jesus called him out on it. I can imagine Jesus eyeing the man with a kind smile, maybe even arching a brow, and repeating, “If you can?” Jesus could have paused to let His next words sink in, “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

The boy’s father immediately repents and says, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

When doubts creep in, which they will, and we allow our fears and worries to grow big in our own minds, sometimes we need to cry out like the boy’s father, fall on our knees and exclaim, “Lord, help me overcome my unbelief.”

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