As I write this I have been in touch with a number of leaders and believers in a number of countries. Countries where the COVID-19 virus has hit and hit hard. Church buildings are closed. Various limits have been set as to size of groups that can meet. People are shut-in and on lockdown and have trouble adjusting. Others are needing to learn new skills to connect with people electronically. There seems to be a steep learning curve for many who are not use to being home, being alone, and unable to go out for coffee whenever they want to. Everyone, regardless of where they live, is experiencing major adjustments in their lifestyle.
We might say that we are all living in a storm which hit suddenly and unexpectedly. And, we were not really all that prepared.
As I listen, relate, write, connect, text … I note a sense of panic and deep concern in the hearts of those I speak with. Christians and non-Christians alike. It seems that life has changed so drastically and so quickly that they are scrambling to adjust and change their lifestyle to fit the new norm. They are working to keep the 2 meter social distance. They are lining up at grocery stores waiting their turn to get in the door. They are only able to buy a coffee by drive-through. Doctor’s appointments are by phone and not in person. They can’t visit loved ones in hospital or in jail. The norm is no longer normal. And, no one can tell them when it will all end; if it will all end. It is uncertain when life will go back to normal or even if it will. And, if it does, what will the new normal look like?
Of course, I have personally faced a number of changes. I can no longer travel and so that eliminates the majority of my income. Our local church can’t meet so my ability to fellowship is seriously limited. I can’t visit people in hospitals or even shut-ins. The list of changes and adjustments in my life and ministry is almost endless.
But, I am working to see the positive. I am having many more opportunities to tell people about Jesus as they are open to spiritual discussions. I have more time to read and write. I have great office computers and technology enabling me to stay in touch with people around the world. I am home more and both my wife and my dog are appreciating that a lot. I can shop at special senior hours (7:00a in the morning). I am catching up on things around the house that have been neglected for years. And, I am heathy.
I am taking the opportunity to examine my life and my ministry and placing new value on some things and lesser value on others. I am taking advantage of the extra time at home to determine new priorities and how things will change for me and for the ministry as the restrictions on life are lifted. I am taking time to do a “spiritual inventory” and get closer to the Lord.
In spite of being in the age category (with underlying medical concerns) that needs to be extremely careful I have no anxiety or worry or even concern. As I mentioned, I have lost the majority of my income as I cannot travel to work (minister) and even that does not rattle me. I gave my life to the Lord in 1976 and since that day He has been in control and I have trusted Him with the details of daily life, including my financial well-being. I have allowed Him to guide and direct, care and protect, and I look to Him as the Source of all that I need. I have learned to rest in Him and walk in the ‘perfect peace’ that only He can supply.
So, as I listen to the panic; hear the concerns; sense the worry and anxiety in the hearts and lives of those I relate to; as I hear the issues and circumstances people are facing because of the virus; I can only suggest that Jesus is the answer in all of this. I know that sounds simple or even simplistic but it’s true. He is God and God is still in control. And, nothing that is happening has surprised Him. But, most of all when you put your life into the hands of Jesus He gives us a supernatural peace that passes all human logic and understanding.
“I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!” (John 14:27 TPT)
And, I would add, this is a great time to be bold and tell others about Jesus.