[The following post is one of several under the heading of “A New Normal” addressing our response to the Coronavirus outbreak. They are written to the family at Bishop Creek Community Church. I was asked to make them available as an encouragement to all.]
We haven’t exactly traveled thousands of miles to be absorbed into a foreign culture by our enemies, but nonetheless we find ourselves being held captive within the walls of our own homes. This Shelter-in-Place thing has imposed some life-altering behavior, but, in reality, it’s not all that bad, at least for me. I mean, I like my home. I like being here. And, I like returning. I guess one of the worst parts is that in being held here we are forgoing other desired activities, income opportunities, and relational engagements.
Aside from the idea we may be actually doing something good by not being in close proximity to others, we may find this to be a total waste of our time. Mmmmaybe, let’s not do that.
I can’t help but think about the Israelites taken to Judah for a time. For 70 years they were sentenced to be away from their homes. In Jeremiah 29, they were instructed in the time of their exile to not let it be a waste of time… Rather, to grow.
The exiles received word from Jerusalem to, “Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare” (Jeremiah 29:5-7).
Even in the midst of a foreign country, they were encouraged to live life, to not let this be 70 years of wasted time… Again, to grow.
I hope we do not make it through this shelter-in-place time lamenting it as a waste. We still can be productive. And I do not mean with a high amount of time spent – in an enormous consumption of digital content.
~Pursue God with zeal. Spend time with Him. Meditate upon Him.
~Read the Bible! Remember that old, “I just don’t have the time” excuse? It doesn’t work anymore.
~Pray! Pray for yourself. For your spouse. For your kids. For other believers. For this community. For the funny little guy in a white lab coat who is trying to find a solution to this ordeal. For the leadership of this country. For your enemy. For your enemy. Pray for your pastor. Pray for all the pastors (they have never had to shepherd the flock through a pandemic like this). For healthcare individuals. For those infected with this virus. For true recovery as a nation, that we would bow the knee and pursue Jesus Christ!!
~Flood Facebook and Twitter with verses and encouragements in Christ. We are to be a light of the world. Memorize scripture. Fast. Repent. Whaat? Yes!
~Call people, send cards and letters.
~Get prepared for the aftermath. Coming through this we better be ready to care for the onslaught of hurting people who find themselves destitute.
~Do something physical, and maybe even a craft or a home project.
No, it’s not ideal. And, it’s not a “staycation.” But it need not be “70 years” poorly spent.
May God be with us!