In March of 2013 I found myself driving a group of 11 college students back to Geneva College from Moab, Utah. On our way home we were caught in the very middle of a blizzard. We drove over Vail Pass (one of the ways over the Rockies) in about 4” of snow while many vehicles were unable to continue driving. Our loaded van and trailer full of gear gave us the traction necessary to continue, but we came terrifyingly close to a number of tractor trailers drifting into our lane. A few layers of steel and seatbelts seemed to provide little safety in such chaos. But, within the confines of that van we continued to pray together, sing together, and read Scripture, because we had faith, we knew that God was sovereign over even the weather.
While in the very presence of Jesus the small group of disciples experienced a storm while out to sea, in such a vulnerable state. When Jesus awoke, with a word he calmed the storm. You see, he spoke all things into being. So, nothing can be outside of the limits he placed.
We truly live in a time of chaos. The level of chaos seemed to arrive in a moment as the Coronavirus dubbed COVID-19 has swept across the world. At the end of last week into the beginning of this one I found myself trying to stay on top of the news. When I woke, I’d immediately check my phone or computer to see what was new, how far things have gotten, what else was impacted. I’d interrupt our typical family time to check a message or get an update.
Although I wasn’t living in fear of what was going on, I was approaching an obsession with ‘knowing’ what was going on. Rather than committing to the spiritual disciplines that we are all called in all times to pursue and prioritizing the love of God and the love of others, I had become seriously distracted.
Perhaps, your experience over the last week has some similarities to mine. One of the strange aspects of what is happening right now is that the impact is vastly different based on ones age, socio-economic state, vocation, etc. It is significant regardless, but in different ways. Here are some practices that I believe are helpful in such a time as this:
Abide in God - Bible & prayer before anything else
Read from Scripture and spend time in prayer before you pick up your phone, before you look up news, before you get on the internet. I’d encourage reading a Psalm or from Proverbs, Philippians, and from Mark. Pray as a family in the evening - the Lord’s prayer, prayer for one another, prayer for leaders, prayer for healthcare workers, prayer for everyone. Lament for those who are experiencing significant loss, petition the Lord for deliverance, rejoice in the promise of the Gospel!
Connect with others - Call 2-3 people by the end of the day
Call folks (go beyond texting) to connect, encourage, and ask how you can be praying for them. Maybe even pray over the phone together. Do text some others, but make sure you call some.
Although it seems to change some, follow the wisdom and instruction that those in authority are sharing. It is clear in God’s word that we are to respect and honor people in such positions.
Love your neighbor
Consider writing a note to someone
Reach out to someone in the healthcare field and ask how you can pray for them
If you are able to share, do so with people in need
Continue to grow
Read a book, get a few others to read it with you (Crossway is offering my favorite book regarding the passion of Christ as a free downloadable eBook: The Final Days of Jesus) Click here to go to the eBook.
Listen to podcasts, sermons, etc.
When in chaotic times it can be difficult to find wisdom. When I was driving through that blizzard I was constantly wondering, “what is the wisest course of action?” I called multiple people as I was able, I consulted with others in the van, but it was difficult. Times like these call for wisdom and courage.
I appreciate the way Andy Crouch defines wisdom: “Wisdom is understanding. It’s the kind of understanding, specifically, that guides action. It’s knowing, in a tremendously complex world, what the right thing to do is” Then courage is essentially the resolve, the conviction, to do difficult things. They go hand in hand. I urge you to pursue wisdom and have courage. Even though finding wisdom can be difficult as it applies to specific situations - we know that it begins with the fear of the LORD.
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the
by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
My son, do not lose sight of these—
keep sound wisdom and discretion,
and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for you neck.
Then you will walk on your way securely,
and your foot will not stumble.
If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be
Do not be afraid of sudden terror
or of the ruin of the wicked, when it
for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being
Do not withhold good from those to
whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.