Is this time of incredible trouble bringing out the best in you, or the worst in you? Every day brings a set of frightening new numbers, a slew of new recommendations, a lot of new problems…and a deluge of new worries. As I write this, there is a national debate going on about children returning back to school in less than two months.
There are strong and cogent arguments on both sides. The medical side points out the possibility of an increased spread of infection. The social work side argues that remote learning increases stress on working families, which historically corresponds to increased child abuse in the home and damaging social isolation for the child. Experts are weighing in on both sides, and there is no magic solution here.
What can we do?
I remember once being told that in situations where you aren’t in control, you should focus on what you can control. About the only thing left to control at this point is your reaction to everything that is out of control.
How are you doing with that? Do you have your reactions under control? Yeah, me neither. Some days are better than others. Some days I just want to hide under the covers.
Today’s passage is a timely reminder that our reactions are a reflection of who we are and what we believe. Even in the midst of such global turbulence, Paul reminds us not to throw a question mark over everything God has done for us. In situations like this horrific pandemic, Paul says not to squander any of the marvelous life God has given us. Instead, we are to be a reflection of God in everything we do.
2 Corinthians 6 (The Message)
1-10 Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,
I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.
Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details.
We may not have seen the worst of this pandemic yet, but listen: IT WILL END. We won’t be living this way forever. In due time, it will be eradicated. There will be a vaccine. Things will return to a semblance of normal. God hears our call and is here to help.
But let’s hope we don’t return to the way we were. Let’s strive to a new normal that is faith-filled, battle-tested, smarter, more compassionate, and more dependent on God than we ever were in the before-time. Let’s strive to come out of this BETTER.
What will your pandemic legacy be? Have you been a witness to God’s hope, grace, and mercy in these troubled times? Have you stayed true to your word? Are you still God’s servant, filled with deep joy, a pure heart, a clear head, and a steady hand? It’s not too late to pick up the mantle of hope. Even in this, you can be a beacon of gentleness, holiness, and honest love to the world.
You control your response every day. Let your light so shine that all would see Jesus reflected in you, and gain hope themselves.
People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly…in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.
Go out today and be “terrifically alive,” reflecting the deep joy of the Lord in everything you do. Let this be your hope: we are one day closer to the end of this thing.
As I read this, I thought that if someone came up with “stages of pandemic responses” (similar to Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief) they might be: denial, concern, panic, totally-jaded, despair – and be randomly recursive. Thanks for your calm approach and encouragement in your daily writings!
I love your stages idea! I would add “totally immobilized.” That happened to me yesterday.