The world is collectively suffering right now. Some areas more than others, or in different ways than others. There is panic. I don’t think I need to mention why, because we probably hear the word 100 hundred times a day already. It incites anxiety, fear, and maybe depression. It leads many to look out for themselves before the good of others. It has led many to a loss of inner peace, or an even greater lack of inner peace.
Within the past few weeks, my thoughts have shifted a lot as new information has come out. Through it all, one big thing I’ve realized is that I don’t want to operate out of fear. In fact, fear is the opposite of faith, and the Bible continually warns us against fear! I want to operate in wisdom and faith. There are certain things we can do in the human which protect us and keep us healthy. So, I do those things, increase how much I am doing those things, and add a few extra precautions. I walk in faith, knowing that God is in control! Spiritually, I’m striving to fill my mind with God’s promises and root myself in prayer more than ever. I’m cutting down my intake of social media and news, except to what is necessary. God is sovereign, and I take comfort in knowing the truth of this even in these difficult times.
The world suffers, and many of us in America are pushed to a different kind of suffering than we’ve ever known or expected. This has caught many off guard. While I’ve also been disappointed about changes that have been made to my routine and well-laid plans, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect. And I’ve realized that this heavy cross is an opportunity. It’s an invitation for all of us.
- This is an opportunity for us to draw closer to the heart of our Heavenly Father. It’s an invitation to, from here on out, fix our eyes on Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) It’s an opportunity to never go back to being lukewarm or “half-in.” It’s “all in,”and the time is now. (Revelation 3:16)
- This is an opportunity to re-align our priorities and values. Now is the perfect time to examine whether we have actually been living out what we profess or believe that we profess. It’s an invitation to shift our mindsets and our actions in order to live in such a way that is truly worthy of our calling and beliefs. (Philippians 1:27)
- This is an opportunity to trust. It’s an invitation to truly trust God–and to trust Him more than ever, as the world seemingly goes crazy. It’s an opportunity to guard our minds in Christ Jesus, and to know the peace He gives which surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)
- This is an opportunity to practice charity and love in new ways. As some of our neighbors (near and far) suffer in greater ways, this is an invitation to find new and creative ways to love our neighbor. After this storm has passed, the invitation is to then continue to love and reach out, and not to go our own way again. It’s an invitation to continue in a life of radical love.
- This is an opportunity to cultivate gratitude. It’s an invitation to remember what we do have, and the freedoms that we had before. It’s an invitation to be grateful now, and even more in the future. It’s an opportunity not to grumble about the opportunities that we or our family members have–educationally, professionally, spiritually, and more. It’s an invitation to love our family and friends harder than before, and to never again take for granted their presence in our lives. It’s an invitation to rejoice in the blessing of daily routine and what we may have considered monotonous before.
- This is an opportunity to….What is this opportunity for you? What do you think you are being invited to in the midst of this? The invitation for each of us may be different.