The quiet and the “absence of the noise” of life has been both life giving and, perhaps, a little disturbing. The quiet gives us time to consider what we value and allows us to focus on things that get lost in our hectic lives. I have had more time to listen to podcasts and sermons, and I’ve been able to focus on people and less on “getting things done.” This crisis has changed the way we all live. But sometimes we learn things that are uncomfortable.
One thing my wife and I have added to our daily routine is long walks. When we walk together we often pray for family, friends, the world, and our neighbors. But I get up early and often walk by myself. So I’ll listen to a sermon or pray for different needs. But, I am trying to listen to the Lord more. It’s not that I am hearing him audibly, of course, but this new quiet has allowed me to hear him as he graciously points out idols that I’ve acquired. Thankfully, because if his kindness, I never hear accusation or shame in these moments. Its more like a loving dad helping me learn about things that compete with my love for him. It has been good. Yet, the truths of what he says to me are a bit rattling at times. Nevertheless, I appreciate it and can hear those truths because his character is so good and his mercy is so evident.
On an equally practical level, we’ve all had to be creative in how we use our time at home. We now disciple and coach on Google hangouts and our team meets on Zoom. Of course we work as much as we’re able, but there is more “free time” now and, if we’re not intentional, we can waste our quarantine. We thought we’d share some thoughts on this, but we also want to share some meaningful truths as we navigate these dangerous times together.
- This crisis reminds us how fragile we are and how we are dependent on the Lord. The problem with success is that it can seduce us into thinking “all is well,” even though reality tells us we are in more desperate need than we know. The good news is that the Living Water, Jesus, actually satisfies. Our fragility should direct us to that amazing water.
- The noise of life distracts us from the important things in life. I’m a diabetic and on occasion my blood sugar will get dangerously low, but if I’m distracted with busyness I can miss the cues of a low glucose which causes crazy and dangerous issues. But when I’m less distracted I can listen to the cues that alert me to problems. The same is true in our lives. Busyness can disguise larger issues that need to be thought about, particularly the importance of relationships and community, which provide for our well being. God himself is relational and he encourages us to reflect who he is and, generously provides his Spirit to help us.
- Although the numbers of potential fatalities are a reality (100,000 to 250,000 as of this writing), most of us will probably be untouched by an unexpected death. However, the possibility exists. This reality reminds us as believers that our hope extends beyond this world. This allows peace to be the dominant emotion even though we may be “nervous.” None of us want to die, or don’t care if we die, but it’s important to allow the future reality of death to point us to Jesus. He conquered death. It may seem way off in the future, and for most of us it may be, but it is very true that some day our lives on earth will end and we will stand before Jesus either as a friend or a foe. If as a friend (John 3:16), we’ll enjoy eternal life in the fullest way possible. It will simply be amazing. We can experience peace in this reality and knowledge instead of focusing on physical and economic despair. If as a foe then we will have to give an account of our lives before God himself (Romans 6:23).
- The world is watching those of us who are followers of Christ. They’re noticing how differently we’re responding to COVID-19. We can, as friends of Jesus, run toward the gates of hell with full confidence that God is in control! We can share why we experience peace. We can ask people how we can pray for them. We can serve them in practical ways by asking about their fears, going to the grocery store for them, offering a roll of toilet paper, or simply offering a smile. The crisis may not offer any immediate opportunities to share the gospel, but it will set you up for future opportunities post COVID-19.
We know you are learning new things, exploring neglected places in your heart, and experiencing new ways to find joy in a dark place. We are praying for you and love you. We’re in this together and God remains on his throne. We hope you’ll find comfort from him and that Paul’s encouragement to trust him with your anxiety will be a growing reality. Please let us know how we can specifically pray for you.