The world feels chaotic and tomorrow is full of unknowns. People all around us feel panic, uncertainty, and anxiety. There have been massive lay-offs, loved ones are sick or at risk of getting sick, the economy is suffering, and people are being asked to self-isolate. Yet, in the midst of so much sadness and loneliness, I can’t help but think that God is trying to get our attention.
This is uncharted territory. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents have seen a lot in their lifetimes, but this is new even for the wisest and most experienced among us. While this is a difficult time that should not be taken lightly, there are some opportunities in it that I don’t want to waste. Below are five things the Lord has laid on my heart to do in this season of unknowns and waiting.
- Rededicate time to seek the Lord.
Eventually, this will pass. Kids will go back to school, parents will go back to the office or back to their normal routines, restaurants will reopen, and churches will meet together in buildings. But right now, though we are in the midst of chaos, there is also quiet. There is a forced stillness. Let’s be intentional in the way we use this time. Let’s train ourselves to hear from the Lord now so that when the normal busyness of life begins again, we will be more sensitive to His voice. Let’s rededicate time to seek the Lord.
- Reset priorities.
For all of you fellow “people-pleasers,” the word no may not be in your vocabulary. Sometimes I find that I have over-committed and filled my schedule with too many good things. Even the best things in our lives can become idols if we allow them to displace our relationship with God. While most of our normal activities have been put on hold, let’s use this time to reset our priorities and seek the Lord. As I’ve had extra time to clean the house, I’ve pondered what to purge, both in my home and in my schedule. I’m praying that I will use this time to allow the Lord to reclaim His place at the top of the totem pole of my life. Let’s use this time to reset our priorities.
- Reevaluate what really matters.
So many of our schedules have been totally disrupted. Even for those of us still working, whether it be from home or even from the office, most of us don’t have as many options when it comes to things to do after work. Movie theaters, shopping malls, and restaurants have closed. Extra-curricular school activities and field trips have been cancelled. Sports teams have ended their seasons abruptly. At the end of your workday (if you still have a workday) there’s essentially nothing to do outside of your home. For most of us, this means spending more time with those in our immediate families. People are playing board games, reading books together, and going for walks outdoors. Let’s reevaluate what really matters.
- Realize what’s been taken for granted.
This is a unique opportunity to, in a way, be a fly on our own walls. Some people live their whole lives without stopping to ponder what regrets they might have until they reach their deathbeds, when it is too late to make many changes. Now is our chance to notice who and what we are taking for granted and make necessary changes. This global pandemic is also giving us the chance to see how blessed and, in some cases, spoiled, we are. How many of us thought about toilet paper and hand sanitizer as luxuries before now? I am so thankful that my home is a safe haven, but for many, their homes are not safe and comfortable. We so often treat blessings like school, work, house chores, and errands like burdens. These are privileges that can easily become mundane and bothersome. Let’s appreciate our educators, first responders, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, grocers, truck drivers, and food service workers more after this. Let’s be thankful we have jobs to wake up to. And let’s find meaning and purpose in the seemingly small tasks that make up our days. For me, I hope that I see things like watching a movie in the theatre, going to the big game with friends, and being able to drop in to see family whenever I want as a gift after all of this is over, rather than something I’m entitled to. Let’s realize what we’ve been taking for granted.
- Refocus on God.
Finally, let’s use this time to clear our minds. Let’s read more books. Spend more time outdoors appreciating God’s creation. Memorize scripture. Serve our neighbors. Be still and know. Let’s refocus on God.
How many times have I cried out to God, asking for Him to reveal Himself to me? How many times have I longed for stillness and quiet so that I could distinguish His still small voice from the loudness all around me? My biggest fear is not that I’ll get sick, because I know nothing happens to me outside of God causing or allowing it. My biggest fear is that I will waste this unique time that the Lord has given me by filling my days with social media, television, and busy work. That’s why I am writing this all down; to hold myself accountable and to help me be more intentional with my time.
While these are days of uncertainty, let’s not forget the One who controls all things. This virus did not catch God by surprise, and we can rest in the fact that He is still the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Let it not be said of us that we wasted this opportunity to seek Him and put His love on display.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling…“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”Psalms 46:1-3, 10