We are living in some strange times. On-campus classes have been canceled for the remainder of the semester. Gathering sizes are limited. Restaurants are closed. Churches aren’t meeting. There’s nation-wide economic uncertainty. People are sick and dying. Most of us are self-quarantined in our homes, with little person-to-person contact. COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down.
Without a doubt, there is a lot of suffering, fear, and anxiety in our culture right now. And for that we lament, morn, comfort, and pray. But despite all of this, I believe God has given us some great opportunities to love God and others, and to be formed more into the image of Christ.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, in this prayer, says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). Paul, who was in prison at the time he wrote those words, who was isolated from people, said that God is able to immeasurably more than we can even imagine. What does God want to do in you and through you in season?
Here are five opportunities for service and growth God may be setting before you at this time.
We have the opportunity to rest.
We live in a very busy culture. Many of you typically go nonstop. Between school, work, friends, on-campus activities, church, and relationships, there is little time for rest. Many of us are mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally drained and burnt out. Maybe God wants to use this time to give us rest. For the remainder of this quarantine, you may have more time on your hands than ever before.
God said to Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14).
The fourth of the Ten Commandments was to rest (Exodus 20:8-11).
Jesus said to His disciples, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Are you tired, weary, stretched thin, or burnt out? Since you’re self-quarantined and probably have a lot of time on your hands, maybe God is giving you the opportunity to slow down and rest.
We have the opportunity to understand the importance of community.
For many people, the hardest part of their quarantine is having to be away from people. You have FOMO. You miss hanging out with your friends. You miss going out to restaurants, stores, and coffee shops. You miss people.
God did not create humans to be alone. It’s not good for people to be alone. God agrees. God said of Adam, the first human: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). God created us for community.
Before all of this, maybe you took your community for granted. Maybe you didn’t fully appreciate your church family, friend group, floormates, or coworkers.
Think about how hype you’ll be for the first in-person game night with friends after the epidemic. Think about how sweet it’ll be to go to your grandparents’ house for a family gettogether. Think about how beautiful the first church assembly will be when you can come together with the body of Christ to fellowship and worship God together.
Community is one of the greatest gifts God gives us. Maybe now we will appreciate the gift of community even more.
We have the opportunity to make connections with people through technology we might not have connected with otherwise.
We have been blessed with so many ways to connect with people, people from previous generations would hardly believe it. You can text someone from one state while facetiming with someone from another county, all while emailing someone somewhere else!
1 Corinthians 12:27 – “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it..”
We should take advantage of the opportunities technology gives us to check in with people! You need other people, and other people need you!
Write letters to older members of your church. Text friends. Call family members.
We have the opportunity to seek intimacy with God.
Use this time to reevaluate your relationship with God.
James 4:8 – “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
We have this promise, that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. Cultivate a vibrant prayer life. Spend time in the Word every day. If you’re a goal-oriented person, set a goal to read the whole New Testament this month, or pick a book of the Bible and commit to reading through it 25 times.
What are some ways you can draw near to God?
We have the opportunity to show hope to a hopeless world.
1 Peter 3:15 – “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
We as Christians live hopeful lives because, if Jesus really rose from the dead, death and suffering does not have the last word. As Peter says, be prepared to tell others why you have hope in this seemingly hopeless time. You may have the opportunity to share about Jesus.
God is the great Redeemer. He can bring good out of terrible situations. Even though we all admit that COVID-19 is terrible and wish it would go away, how might you use this season to help you grow closer to God and be more fully formed into the image of Jesus?