At the moment it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But even now, there are moments of grace. Here’s a few;
- Fresh eyes to see what we depend upon – and what really matters. Three weeks ago I was reading articles about skin creams and fretting about the school run. Now, not so much! My heart’s been exposed and I’m being forced to look to the Lord afresh. The realities of life and death were always there – but now I’m really seeing them.
- A new appreciation for health workers, teachers, shelf stackers, journalists and others I’ve taken for granted.
- We know what the virus is; we’re able to test for it and we are able to do things to halt its spread. It’s scary – but it can also be nuked with a dollop of hand-wash.
- Fresh bread and eggs. In fact all fresh groceries – and sanitation. In future, I hope I’ll be a better steward of the things I’ve been wasting.
- I thought I was a sun-phobic introvert. But the sun is great – and even though I usually avoid video calls, right now, I NEED to see others.
- Incredible communication networks – so we can encourage each other, keep up-to-date (within limits!) with family and the wider world.
- New opportunities for the gospel – fresh hunger for meaning and for connection and for hope, an awareness of mortality, questions about suffering and purpose and identity.
- I’ve got a home to self-isolate in! There are many folks (like those who are homeless) who cannot, even if they wanted to.
- For those living with others, more time with immediate family. Yes it’s daunting – but the alternative is far worse! Usually they get the bits that are left after a busy day. But here’s some of the time we’re always wishing we had more of. Time to make memories with our kids they will never forget. Time to work on a marriage that’s gone stale or relationships that have drifted apart. The longest ‘holiday’ we’ll get with loved ones – maybe ever.
- Netflix, Monopoly, jigsaws, crafting, DIY – and a million other ways of spending time at home. Not to mention online teaching resources that mean time isn’t wasted.
- For those who live alone, more time to spend with the Lord and in reflection (as well as ‘seeing’ folks via social media). What are the things you’ve always wanted to do? Writing a book, reading the novel you never got round to, sorting out the garden? The time is now!
- A renewed sense of community and unity. A few weeks ago, I didn’t know the names of many of my neighbours. Now we’ve got a WhatsApp group for our street – and we’re planning a street party for when this is over. One of our neighbours works for the NHS and hasn’t got masks or gloves – another neighbour was able to source them for her and her colleagues.
- A continuing sense of humour. From the rubbish collectors who do funny dances to entertain our son, to the different corona memes that friends send to keep me laughing. And (very occasionally) my husband’s limitless puns.
- New opportunities to do church and connect. From live-streaming services to interactive bible studies, we’re being forced to revitalise the ways we worship, study God’s word and do community. These will help older members to connect in new ways – and they’re a great way of reaching out to the young people, (the very ones we’re scared of losing).
- The chance to discover our gifts and serve in new ways. Maybe you’re good with technology and can help others get to grips with social media. Maybe you’re an encourager who can help folks get out of bed. Maybe you’re a mum with ideas for homeschooling; or a health worker who’s coming out of retirement. Cometh the hour, cometh the prayer warrior..
- A Lord who hasn’t been taken by surprise. Who loves his people, works through suffering and promises to be with us, whatever we face.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:18
This is a hard, hard time. But God will redeem it. Where can you see his grace?