Disheveled Theologian: Reach out to Jesus

O'Donnell Gretchen

OK, I admit it: I’m tired of staying at home. I know I sound selfish saying so. But honesty is a good policy, right? And vulnerability. And relatability. So I’m admitting it here and now. I’m tired of this. Maybe you are, too.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t keep staying home. Won’t keep wearing the flowered mask my daughter sewed for me when I go to the store for my one social interaction every week and a half. Won’t keep doing anything and everything I can to stop the spread of COVID-19 in my little corner of the world. This is a doable thing, even if it’s not always all that fun.

Speaking of the world, it’s funny how small it has become lately, isn’t it? What happened in one town, thousands of miles away, has impacted, literally, the entire world. Perhaps, like me, the old song, "It’s a Small World" has come to mind more than once for you in recent days.

I found a little songbook on a bookshelf the other day, printed in 1978. I remember when the book was new, and my sisters used it at church youth group. I began to browse through the book, and I had to smile, albeit a little sadly, when I turned the page and there was the song which had been going through my head so often recently.

“It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears; it’s a world of hopes and a world of fears. There’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware. It’s a small world after all.”


Wow. Yes. So much that we share. Hopes and fears. Germs.

There was another song in the book that stood out to me, too. "He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands."

“He’s got the wind and the rain in his hands … He’s got the tiny little baby in his hands … He’s got you and me, brother … you and me, sister … He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

The whole world. In the hands of God. Kinda makes the smallness of our world seem a little easier to take, doesn’t it? The smallness of my house, of “sheltering in place," a little easier to bear. A little less worrisome.

Don’t get me wrong, I am enough of an introvert that I like being at home alone. But I’m also enough of an extrovert — whenever I’ve been tested for such things, I’m always literally on the line between intro and extrovert — that I want to be around people and if I’m alone too long I get cranky. Now, with the rest of the family home almost all of the time, too, I find I both like and dislike that. The grass is always greener, yes?

There is yet another song from that little old songbook which leaped off the page. "Reach out to Jesus." Yes, the song is a bit hokey, but the words remain true.

“Is your burden heavy as you bear it all alone? Does the road you travel harbor danger yet unknown? Are you growing weary in the struggle of it all? Jesus will help you when on his name you call.”

Yes, I’m growing weary with the struggle of it all. Maybe you are, too. But this is how the song ends: “He is always there, hearing every prayer, faithful and true. Walking by our side, in his love we hide, all the day thru. When you get discouraged just remember what to do; reach out to Jesus, he’s reaching out to you.”


As we “hide” in our homes, we are not alone. Whether we live alone or not. Worried and discouraged and lonely as we may be, Jesus is with us, all the day through. When we’re feeling lonely or afraid or discouraged or weary in the struggle of it all, reach out to Jesus! Maybe even literally, reach out your hand. He’s right there, reaching out for you.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

Gretchen O’Donnell is a freelance writer who lives in Worthington with her husband and three children. She has a master’s degree from Bethel Seminary and enjoys writing about the things she sees and applying theological truths to everyday situations. Her column, The Disheveled Theologian, is published weekly. Her email is .

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