I’m going to keep this short and sweet. It usually helps us in difficult times to see the purpose for the pain or stress we’re going through. There’s always purpose when we’re being taught something. Here are a few things that I’ve learned or seen come out of this COVID-19 mess thus far.
The Value of Community and Fellowship
It’s been a common theme in our society to shame the technological age and how it’s made us less community minded and sociable. Now, the only communication most of us can have is virtual. As we are stuck at home with no option but to call, Facetime, Marco Polo, or keep up with others’ lives through social media, we are now extremely grateful that we even have these different forms of communication. If we didn’t, imagine how much more isolated we would feel. But I also think it’s shown us how much we really do crave face to face communication. Now that it’s off the table of options, we are missing it deeply. A simple hug. A warm handshake. Cuddling close to a friend on the couch. These are things that don’t even need words but are part of fellowship and community. My hope is that when this is all done, we do value fellowship in person more than we did before and not take it for granted.
The Importance of Rest
I find it very interesting that God prioritizes rest and makes sure His people get it and also that even He rested, though He didn’t have to. I believe there is beauty in simplicity, and maybe God wants us to see that more. We are now in a time of forced rest. Our world but especially the U.S., thrives on success and how much you can get done in a day. I’m not knocking productivity, I think it’s really great to have a good work ethic. But I would also argue that our culture can easily get obsessed with “finding our purpose”, doing big things, and at least appearing amazingly successful. Again, these are not terrible qualities, but it can really wear on a person if even something good in and of itself is viewed incorrectly or prioritized over things that should be more valuable to us. Maybe God is showing us the beauty found in a slower paced life. When God gives His people rest, it’s always a blessing, a gift from Him. When Solomon was born, God said He would give the people rest on every side and there would be peace in the land (1 Chronicles 22:9). Again in 2 Chronicles 20:30, God blesses the realm of Jehoshaphat by giving them quiet and rest all around.
This forced rest might not only be good for people, but also for the earth. I’ve seen many articles about how Venice now has clear water for the first time in years, pollution rates are dropping in cities that are usually overrun with it (India is reporting they can see the Himalayas in the distance now), and people are trading in their normal disposable things for reusable since they’re afraid they’ll run out. All of these things are positive for the earth. And I also find it interesting that God calls for a sabbath for the land every seven years (Leviticus 25:4). I would say we are long overdue for that, so maybe we can look at this as God healing the earth and giving it a much needed rest as we also rest.
“So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.”
2 Chronicles 20:30
How We Spend Our Time
Many of us now seemingly have “all the time in the world”. Though for me, it hasn’t felt that way as much as I thought it would. The days in a way go quickly, but at the end of it, I’m not sure what I did. How we spend our time in seasons of stress or difficulty reveals a lot about our hearts. Do you spend hours on the news or social media to learn an overwhelming (and often unhelpful) amount about COVID-19 and spend maybe only 30 minutes out of the whole day with God? I’m not saying it’s wrong to stay up to date through the news and is probably a wise thing to do, but if anticipating hearing some good news is all we’re putting our hope in, we will come away anxious and disappointed every time. Because it won’t be enough to calm our stressed and weary souls. We desperately need to be spending more time searching out God than surfing the web. If you are the type of person who wants to know what’s going on all the time, try setting aside an hour a day that you allow yourself to read the news. Then, if you spend an hour a day filling your mind with news of the world, spend two hours feeding your heart, soul, and mind with the only One who actually knows what the heck is going on. God is the only One who always knew this was coming, knows how long it will last, and knows when we will be able to safely hug our loved ones again. The only One. Not only does He know infinitely more than the news media (I mean, seriously), but He can also give you something nothing else can: peace.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
I don’t know about you, but this verse holds new meaning now. God doesn’t give us peace as the world does, which is flawed and temporary. God’s peace is eternal. It passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). It’s that peace you feel when you shouldn’t feel peaceful at all. It’s that inexplicable quiet that comes over you when you pray to Him with a heart in turmoil. I pray through all of this, more hearts are turned to God in the search for peace. Turn to Him, love. Open your soul to Him. He’s always ready to receive you.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I’d love to hear your heart on this subject also. Have you seen God teaching you similar lessons or maybe different ones? Please share with me what you’ve learned in this time!
Until next time, sweet friends.