While the coronavirus pandemic has for a while dramatically altered our customary ways of living, working and even being church, it also has the potential for being a great and needed tutor for us as a people, if we are willing to learn from it.
I said in a recent sermon that when we are going through a crisis or threat of some nature, be it personal or national, it may serve us well to ask two questions which may prove to be instructive and helpful:
- “What are we learning from this experience?”
- “How can we be used in this experience?”
As believers we can reframe these questions slightly to ask what is God teaching us or revealing to us and how can God use us in this time and situation?
New eyes & ears
Surely among the things we are learning is how often we take for granted the many blessings and benefits that surround us daily — the freedom to go when and where we please, the easy access to medical care, the right to assemble and worship as we choose, the ready availability of food and resources that are no longer there in an environment of scarcity and limitation, etc.
An old country song use to say “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” Well, a lot of things have gone away and we will miss them for a while, even if we never fully appreciated them when they were present on every hand. When we emerge from this current crisis, and we will, perhaps we will be blessed with eyes better to see and minds better to comprehend all those things we overlook and disregard which ought to be cherished.
As a people surely we are also learning through this crisis how to better prepare for future threats of this nature to us and others. This pandemic and the apparent lack of readiness for it may just equip us for better and quicker response in the years ahead when new threats emerge, and they will.
We can use now the accumulated wisdom of the medical community, the experience of emergency preparedness experts, the insights of manufacturers, economists, and governmental leaders to know how to act more quickly and live more responsibly when a challenge from nature or man threatens our life together.
As for how God can use us at this time, our isolation and social distancing need not translate into ignoring our obligations to family, friends and neighbors.
Indeed, we may now actually have more time and opportunity to reach out to those we know and love and are conscious of who would benefit from our compassionate concern and willingness to assist as needed.
So pick up the phone.
Write a note.
Send over a pot of soup to someone who may need an added measure of encouragement and support.
Good intentions, better timing!
We may never again have as much time, opportunity, and availability to do the compassionate thing for those about us. All those loving gestures which we have intended in the past but have put off for one reason or another can now be embraced and acted upon.
Yes, we certainly are restricted from doing many customary things but just imagine all those which we are now free to do as never before. And what will those opportunities be for you? How might the Lord use you to be a blessing to others?
Wisdom, patience & joy
In the meantime, until we can all gather again my prayer for you will be what Paul prayed for the church in Colossae (1:9-11, TEV):
“We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. Then you will be able to live as the Lord wants and will always do what pleases him. Your lives will produce all kinds of good deeds, and you will grow in your knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father . . . “
Together in Christ,