How might God use this season of upheaval to move you forward?
All over the globe plans are being disrupted on a massive scale due to the Coronavirus. Schools and businesses are closed, airports are shuttered, sporting events have been canceled or deferred, and entire cities, states, and countries are effectively shut down. This spring is not going according to anyone’s plans.
For my family, this has meant both Jenni and my daughter learning the intricacies of teaching online in the course of a single day. Multiple family members have endured canceled travel plans and are struggling to get refunds. All of us are working remotely, with the challenges and inefficiency that creates. I’ve gone from traveling 50-80% every month to zero. This isn’t what any of us had planned.
But here’s the thing. God did not get caught off guard by the Coronavirus. While I’m not among those who think the virus is a global punishment from God, I do know that he is able to redeem it for our good. It’s who he is. It’s what he does.
So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose. (Romans 8:28 TPT)
Shifting Gears, Shifting Focus
With all the disruption to our daily lives, with all the fear that comes from the constant updates on the global pandemic, it’s easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed. But I don’t think God wants us to live in discouragement and fear. He has a better plan. He wants to redeem this time.
Maybe you’ve read the story about young Isaac Newton, who was forced into seclusion during the 17th century “black death” outbreak in London that ultimately took a quarter of that city’s population. It was during his year of “social distancing” that he had that fabled chance encounter with an apple. In fact, it was during his time in the country, without any of the distractions of daily life, that he formulated his theory of gravity, laid the foundation of calculus, and made great advances in optics, among other history-making innovations. He later referred to this time in his life as his “annus mirabilis,” year of miracles.
As we all shift gears and adapt to a “new normal” of disrupted plans, widespread lockdowns, and social distancing, what if we view this as our own “year of miracles.” Among the prayers for protection and healing, we could also invite God to shift our focus from “How can I survive this?” to “How does God want to use this time to change my life and the lives of those around me for the better?” Rather than focusing on all the things we can’t do, what if we were to focus instead on what we can do.
- What if we were to use this time to grow closer to God and to learn to better discern his voice without all the usual noise around us?
- What if this time were to foster in us a renewed sense of gratitude for all the things we have come to take for granted?
- What if we were to shift our focus from work, church, sports, and all the usual rat race activities to our marriage and family and strengthen these important relationships?
- What if part of God’s greater good for us includes bringing a new level of innovation and creativity to our lives?
Creativity, Innovation, and Renovation
Circumstances in which we have no prior experience to draw upon, such as those we are now facing, are the very circumstances that invite creativity and innovation.
Ask God what new discoveries he might want to bring into your life in this season of relative stillness. What creative ideas might he have for your family, your job, your ministry or your personal life? Remember, God is the ultimate “Creator,” and we are made in His image to be creative.
There is a small local restaurant that my wife and I frequent that is now shut down by county ordinance in response to the virus. We noticed yesterday that they are using this shutdown as an opportunity to renovate their restaurant. Are there areas in your life that are in need of a bit of renovation, where what has been can be replaced by what could be? This is a good time to think about it.
What About Your Marriage?
I understand how significantly family life has changed with parents becoming full-time teachers, having to work from home, and with everyone being thrown together 24/7. This shift in circumstances, along with concerns about your family’s health and safety, has created a lot of homes full of stress. As challenging as these days might be, this is an opportunity for God to help bring about positive shifts in your marriage. The truth is that you can weather this storm much better if you and your spouse stay connected during this season.
- Ask each other, “How can I help you today?” Even small expressions of love make a big difference.
- Get creative with simple ways to do date nights at home.
- Develop the daily habit of setting aside time to genuinely connect. Use this time to connect emotionally and spiritually as a couple. It’s especially important in stressful times.
- Stress and sex don’t usually go well together, but it’s often the case that strengthening your sexual connection will usually strengthen your bond so you can face things together.
- Find new low-key ways to have fun together. Discover a new TV show. Buy a new game. Check out some local parks or walking trails you’ve yet to enjoy (if you can find one that is still open and where you can maintain adequate physical distancing).
- Now would be a great time to read a good marriage book.
Special Note: One day later this week I’ll be giving away Kindle copies of both books in my Igniting Intimacy Series for free. I’ll be announcing the free day on my Facebook page, so if you aren’t connected with us there yet, be sure to do it now.
If you prefer real paper books, I’m running an amazing $3.49 sale on both these books in my Heaven Made Marriage web store.
This is a strange time. A time we will likely always remember. And my prayer is that it’s also a time we’ll look back on as a time when, in the midst of the madness, you were able to move forward instead of backward.