Corona Virus. COVID-19. Quarantine. Social distancing. CLOSED. CANCELED.
These are challenging times, but we can face them without fear. We can stand with strength to not just make the best of things, but to make things better. Let us not be satisfied with getting back to normal, but to make a new tomorrow that’s more than the yesterday to which we had become accustomed.
Where we live in Guatemala, we are now under a mandatory curfew from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. and “unnecessary” activities are shut down including churches and ministries. We are working from home as best as we can. We realize that we are not alone with these new restrictions and that many of you and other places too are facing great changes to their normal living freedoms.
Let’s make good use of this time.
As we work from home and limit our interactions, this is a time to fill our lives with a focus on Christ, grow in a faith that relies completely on Him, and opening our eyes to those around us. They may be our own families, neighbors, or someone brought close by technology or by these circumstances.
Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days.Ephesians 5:16 (GNT)
These are times one could lean back, isolate himself, and fill time with entertainment or distractions until things get back to “normal,” or we can step up to the challenge to fully engage with the needs around us…needs for prayer, needs for great leadership, needs for the Christ who is real and who guides His people to be more and care for others more than themselves.
In these times that force us to slow down (in some ways), we can grow deeper in our relationship with God by spending time with Him, reading the Word and books that inspire us, evaluating ourselves in the mirror (James 1:23-25), and deepen our relationships with others too. This may just give us the opportunity to BE more and not just DO more. We can be Christ to the world around us as we do what he calls us to with Him.
I recently read an article about how the Christians in Rome in the 3rd century responded during the plague…pandemics that killed estimates of 5,000 people each day.
These believers risked (and many lost) their lives as they reached out to bury the dead and care for the sick. Their example was so powerful and their practice of caring for others became so distinctly part of the Christian life that it was still practiced 100 years after the plagues. At that time Julian the emperor acknowledged how the Christians cared not only for their fellow Christians but for others as well. As a result of their care and love, the name of Christ was honored and people saw the love talked about in John13:35 displayed in a way seldom seen outside the cross.
Now, I’m not saying we should break the curfews, go hugging everyone or potentially spread disease, but there are ways we can reach out to show the love of Christ.
Think about it.
Do you have an elderly neighbor you can call or check up on? Is there someone who needs a message or call of encouragement? When was the last time you sent a snail mail letter or card to a friend? Maybe someone needs some bread or that can of soup that you have in your pantry.
Here in Guatemala, as things were shutting down, a group of teens took a car loaded with bread out to one of the main bridges in the capital and passed out food to the truck drivers to say thanks for keeping supplies moving.
What ideas has God given you?
These are challenging times. Yes they are. Let’s rise to the challenge and be a light with Christ into the world around us. We are here on earth for such a time as this…to show people how much Jesus cares for them, by us caring for them!!!