5 Reasons I’m Giving Thanks In the Midst of the Coronavirus
Yesterday the sun was out, and it felt like a normal spring afternoon. After struggling to put my day together and find some measure of rhythm, I decided to go on a run. I witnessed families playing basketball in their driveways, friends riding bikes and talking, and people out for a run or walk. My spirit began sensing something was different than “normal”—but in a good way. My mind began running with ways in which God might be using this time in history to reorient us back toward wholeness. Here are a few suggestions for how we can see God’s grace in this time and respond to him in various forms of worship.
Decrease in Busyness
Most of us know the American culture applauds busyness. We wear it as a badge of honor and elevate it as a virtue. Sure, we Americans get things done and innovate like crazy, but do we ever stop to consider the cost to our souls? When we rush and hurry about, we squeeze out the opportunity to be filled up by the Lord, which over time dries up our souls. What if God is using this moment in history to strip away the hurry and busyness for the benefit of our souls?
Worship application: do an inductive study of Psalm 23:5.
Increased Quality Time
The ugly cousin of busyness is distraction. We all know distraction because it’s the cultural water we swim in—emails, social media, sports, activities, on and on. Some of us can’t even remember the last time we experienced life without distractions. The antidote to distraction is focus. When we focus on others, the quality of our time with that person increases. Think about the effect of unrushed moments of conversation—they are a small gift of God’s grace. Let’s embrace the gift of quality time with family and friends in the coming weeks and months.
Worship application: pursue relationships with an others-centered mentality.
Heightened Awareness of Health
We naturally have a more heightened awareness of physical health right now. As Christians, we should care about the physical welfare of others and ourselves. Jesus took on flesh and walked among us with grace and truth (John 1:14). We worship a God who embraced the human experience and understands our struggles. Before the fall, God created man and woman with a physical body. Though our ultimate home and destination is the new heavens and earth (Rev. 21:1-3), how we manage our physical health today matters to God.
Worship application: approach your exercise, diet, and rest as a form of stewardship.
Sharper Focus on Finances
It’s not just our lives, but our entire economy, that is being disrupted from normalcy. Jobs are being cut, investments are on a roller coaster, and anxiety is piling up. Will we look to the Lord for our provision and hope? We often think giving only happens from a place of abundance, but that is a trap. Jesus tells us the story of the widow who gave in the midst of her poverty (Mark 12:41-44). The point is that obedient giving comes from a place of joyful worship in response to the grace of God in Christ. As a result, we can experience joyful giving in lean and hard times. What an incredible opportunity we have in this cultural moment to be givers, not takers.
Worship application: give in obedience to the Lord as he leads you by the Holy Spirit.
Less Illusion of Control
The illusion of control is possibly the biggest lie our culture feeds us. Our “American dream” is really about comfort and control. What scares us most about this virus is that we currently know very little about how to control it. Could it be that our sense of control is being attacked, and that’s what really scares us? But for the Christian, the path of discipleship is a million little deaths. Jesus says we must deny ourselves if we want to follow him (Matt. 16:24). To spell it out plainly, I’m suggesting that along with a healthy level of concern, we also embrace our helplessness and look to the Lord for help. Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I lift my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
Worship application: spend time in prayer confessing the ways you seek to control your life.’
Don’t let this time pass without allowing God to use it to refocus you back toward wholeness. Rather, look around you, see God’s grace, and open yourself up to his voice by engaging in these ways of worship.