The Good in Quarantine

I've refreshed my Facebook and Twitter feeds too many times to count over the last few days. It seems like the news is changing almost hourly. I have watched more cases of coronavirus creep nearer and nearer to my county. Church gatherings have been reduced to online mediums. Friends have been scrambling to figure out how to continue educating their children at home. Worries keep creeping into my heart. Will I run out of formula? What if a family member or close friend contracts the virus, etc..... In the last twenty-four hours or so, we have started to receive word of friends who have been indefinitely laid off from their jobs with doubts as to whether there will be a position to go back to when this crisis passes.

Ironically, while everyone is adjusting to their new life stuck at home, I have joked that I don't feel much different. I have basically been quarantined for the last four months or so since my health issues began again. I haven't been able to drive since my most recent seizures in December so Walmart and church functions have been my big outings for each week. Now even those are cancelled for the foreseeable future.

While this time at home for the last few months has been difficult, I do feel like I have begun to learn and relearn some vital truths for growth in my life for the future. Since you may have a little more time on your hands, I figured I'd share them with you, my fellow lonely readers.


1. Weakness is a good thing.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, 
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Before you skim past the rest of this point, go back and re-read that verse. His power is made perfect in our weakness. The word "perfect" carries the idea of something that is finished or completed. It is similar to the words that Jesus spoke on the cross, "It is finished," (John 19:30) or Paul's words to Timothy, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith," (I Timothy 4:7). In these examples, God is working to fulfill or accomplish His ultimate purposes. Jesus completed the task He came to earth to do through His death on the cross. Paul, through the strength of his Father, fulfilled his calling as a missionary of the gospel.
In other words, this divine power is working in the areas that we tend to be most embarrassed about by completing our transformation into the image of Christ. Our inabilities, our struggle with repetitive sins, our exhaustion, and our doubt are all dark backdrops on which God's power is most beautifully displayed.

I love what the CSB Study Bible notes say on this verse, 
"The sufficiency of divine grace may be easier to grasp intellectually than through experience, especially for those who are naturally inclined to self-reliance. God ensured that Paul never got away from grace. God's glorious power is more evident when it is displayed in weak vessels."

Can you relate? I sure can! Remember in the next weeks and months that your weakness is an opportunity to look not to yourself, but to the One who holds everything in His all-sufficient hands. You may lose your physical health because of the coronavirus. You may lose your financial stability because of this crisis. You may even lose your temper with your kids for the 100th time. Each of those are areas of weakness that are forcing you to your knees and pointing your heart to the One who can actually rescue you from it! Weakness is a good thing.

2. Help is a good thing. 

When I experience larger seizures, I usually struggle with memory for some time afterwards. In fact, I even struggle remembering major things in my life such as the fact that I had a three week old baby who needed care. Surprisingly it took me until the next morning after my ER visit to comprehend that I hadn't fed or changed him in a long time and I had no idea who had been taking care of him while I was "off-duty." Through a combination of dear friends, a competent uncle and older siblings, and a caring husband, my newborn son was totally fine. I hadn't asked (because I physically couldn't) but help was readily given.

That concept continued with meals from our church family, rides to worship team practices and coffee dates, texts to check-in, and fruit baskets just because. I have told several people, that I have never felt more loved than I have in the last few months.

The next season of life for all of us is unknown. We have no idea what will develop from the thousands of cases of coronavirus in our country. Will it taper off quickly? Will it get dramatically worse? We do know, however, that there will be those in our life who need help. It may be an elderly neighbor who needs us to make sure they have enough groceries (and toilet paper). It may be a friend who has lost their job and needs some financial help to make ends meet. It may be someone who needs the news of spiritual health available to them through Jesus. I know this is a scary time for all of us, but as history has shown us, the Church thrives during times of difficulty. Ask God to give you open eyes to the needs of those right around you!

The opposite may also be true, though. You may need food, money, or encouragement during this time. Do not be afraid to reach out to a friend or leader at your church. You may be surprised how eager others are to help! Isolation does not have to mean inattention. Help is a good thing! 

3. Simplicity is a good thing. 

Although, I haven't quite experienced it yet, I have heard that others with different life situations are finding themselves suddenly with extra time in their schedules. Working from home cuts out commute times and late meetings. Church online removes conversations with others after the service. Even social distancing keeps us from spending too much time at a restaurant or grocery store. Our lives have been forcibly simplified.

There is danger, however, in approaching all this extra time without a clear, purposeful plan. It's amazing how much time can be sucked up in watching the same news rephrased in different ways. It's stunning how hours can fly by in YouTube clips. I pray that I am able to use the simplicity of this season of cancellations to finish a few books collecting dust on my nightstand. I'd love to do some more research for a Bible study I have been working on since last year. I'd love to breathe in some fresh spring air and pull some weeds and clear out some dead branches from the winter.

This time of simplicity in our schedules is a gift in many ways. We now have more time for so many important things that often get overlooked: prayer, Bible study, family games, needed conversations, exercise, etc.... Yes, it feels strange to not have a packed calendar full of meetings, ministry, and travel, but cherish it! This won't last forever! Simplicity is a good thing!

I'm sure there will be more to learn as this epidemic continues, but my biggest prayer is that our faith will be strengthened, that the love of Christ will be shown to our neighbors in tangible ways, and that a refining work will be done in the Church as we are scattered during this season.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
Job 42:2