AN UNPRECEDENTED, UNEXPECTED TIME
Today is my fifth day at home and counting. My social interactions have been limited to my husband, my cat, and friends and family online. But even these interactions have been limited because I find myself overwhelmed by the amount of information sent my way. The constant news and constant updates are constant reminders that our world is facing a pandemic and we do not know how to handle it.
In addition, I find myself overwhelmed by the responses motivated by fear and uncertainty that are impacting every aspect of our lives. Do not misunderstand me: I believe very strongly that all these measures of social distancing, staying at home, and being responsible are necessary. They are intended not only to keep us healthy, but to consider those who are vulnerable, at-risk, and do not have the access to housing, healthcare, sustainable employment, or financial stability many of us have. To love them well, we need to die to ourselves and our daily comforts and routines. Nevertheless—none of this is easy.
As a social worker and the director of our church’s children’s ministry, I thrive on being busy. My work week is about 60 hours on average, so believe me when I admit that staying home with limited things to do is hard. It’s been difficult to stop my mind from worrying and to stop planning things that I just cannot do right now. In the middle of this, a question keeps coming to mind: “How can I ensure that this time of ‘quarantine’ is not wasted?”
A CHALLENGE FROM GOD’S WORD
As I read Jeremiah this morning and considered this strange season our world is in, I was convicted by my lack of desire for God, lack of trust, and lack of surrender to His will.
In the first chapter of Jeremiah, God tells his people: “What fault did your fathers find in me that they went so far from me, followed worthless idols, and became worthless themselves? … My people have exchanged their Glory (their God) for useless idols. Be appalled at this, heavens; be shocked and utterly desolated! This is the Lord’s declaration. For my people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves—cracked cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:5, 11–13 CSB).
I wonder, what “fault” do we find in our Savior that leads us to turn away from Him? Have we forgotten who He is, and instead become defined by our employment, education, income, trips to the mall, friends, and entertainment? Why is it that our faith and security are shaken by a virus when we have eternal hope that is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us” (1 Peter 1:4 CSB)?
We are given hope in Jesus and the opportunity to repent of our sins. Our God calls us to turn from finding our identity in the things of this world and return to the fountain of life: Jesus Christ!
THE GLORIOUS TRUTH
Today, I pray that God’s people are able to remember this glorious truth: Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth to give you and me hope, life, and purpose. All for the glory of His name!
I pray that we are able to recognize our sin, that we as His people still forsake Him and turn to idols. Would we answer His call to repent and come back to Him, the fountain of living water.
I hope too that this time of “quarantine” is not wasted for any of us. I encourage all of us to use this time to refocus our minds, our hearts, our schedules, and our priorities on what matters: Jesus Christ!
How do we do this? Let’s focus these days on developing and strengthening our spiritual lives through spiritual disciplines.
- Spend time daily in the Word of God.
- Spend time in daily prayer.
- Journal and meditate on His Word.
- Memorize the Word of God to find comfort in times of need.
- Confess and repent sin that is clinging to you.
- Worship God for who He is, what He has done, and what He will do.
- Encourage one another. (Consider writing a letter!)
- Share the gospel with those who do not yet know Jesus.
- Fast for our world and those who yet not know Christ.
ALIGNING OUR PLANS TO THE LORD
Our travel plans, work plans, church plans, and personal timelines have all been thrown into disarray—all canceled, all postponed. But this is such a unique opportunity to surrender to the King of Heaven and remember that the Lord says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways” (Isaiah 55:8 CSB). This is our time to seek His Kingdom and His will first and foremost.
In the midst of fear and uncertainty, this we know: God is the same, He continues to reign, He is faithful, He is in control, He is good, and He is our God! This is an opportunity for us to be His feet and His hands, to show the world that our hope in Jesus is secure. To show our children, family, friends, and neighbors who Jesus is: our peace, our hope, and our comfort in the midst of uncertainty.
It’s an opportunity to stand firm in our faith and be ready at all times to give testimony of our hope (1 Peter 3:15). Let us use this time wisely, dwelling in the Word, rejoicing in the Spirit, praying in faith, encouraging one another, and reminding the world that our Savior is with us and His name is Jesus.
A PEOPLE FOR HIS GLORY
Finally, I pray with Paul “that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:9–14).
May we be a people for His glory, standing firm in the hope of Jesus in these difficult times.