This past weekend, my family had a patio party to celebrate my mom’s birthday. The company, the traditional chocolate birthday cake, and swapping stories around the outdoor dinner table gave us a much needed sense of normalcy. We even remarked at how pleasant it was to be outside, and that we couldn’t believe we hadn’t done patio parties before. Yet, there were little reminders that things were in fact, not normal. Instead of blowing the candles out, my mom waved a paper plate to extinguish them. We did not hold hands while saying grace before dinner. But the most difficult aspect for me was choosing not to hug my family, especially my grandparents.

In 2020, it seems like we are unendingly met with tough decisions. Should we postpone this wedding? Can we visit this person in the hospital? Do we cancel camp for the summer?

The second bible passage in camp’s rotation is 1 Kings 3:7-15. Solomon is following in his father David’s footsteps and preparing to govern God’s people. But like us during this time, Solomon didn’t quite know what to do. Solomon wanted the best for his people, but didn’t know what way to achieve this. So God appeared to Solomon in a dream and granted him a discerning heart. With this new found wisdom, Solomon went on to be a successful and well loved leader.

This story is so relatable right now. In praying, Solomon did not even know where to start. He didn’t ask for a bumper crop, or for peace among nations, or for a fruitful population. Solomon didn’t know what may lead him and his governance to success. Instead, he asked God for an open heart in any given circumstance, and it was granted. I find a lot of comfort in knowing I don’t have to have a game plan to present to God in prayer — really, I don’t have to have anything. It is so hard to know what to pray for or to know what to do, but God meets us where we are at.

That night after the patio party, I was left with a mess of emotions. Guilt from not accepting a hug from my grandparents, fear of invisible transmission, and embarrassment from acting too guarded. Yet, I found peace simply feeling heard by God and knowing that I did not have to know the right way.

As we tread the waters of a pandemic and a social justice revolution, we can take comfort in meeting God unprepared more than ever. No one knows the best way to be an ally or to protect others in a pandemic (although wearing a mask seems like a good start!). But God will listen to our contradictions, our worries, and our confusions, and grant us the wisdom to make sense of them.

-Elspeth Muzzin