Wait- rejoice in what exactly?
For some of us, this quarantine feels like it has gone on too long. Enough already! Can I please get back to _________ (fill in the blank) … work, school, church, my parents’ house, the neighbor’s party, the hardware store, the coffee shop, and the list goes on. Can we please get back to life without masks and gloves and constant worry over this virus? Can we just get back to normal? Whatever that is…
Author Dave Hollis wrote a line worth repeating, “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”
What if this time we’re spending in quarantine is not merely a nuisance, but is also an opportunity that God has given us to consider who we are and what we should be doing with our lives? No one can answer that question for us; it must be answered with the Spirit, through prayer and conversation, and through reading of Scripture. Here are some words of Paul to help us:
Scripture: Philippians 4:4-9 (NLT)
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
When you measure your life—what it has been and what it is now—against the virtues Paul lays out, how does it stand up? Is your life true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy? This is the character of a holy life; a life lived following after Jesus Christ.
I invite you to make a list this weekend—two lists, in fact. One list of things you absolutely want to hold on to; things that this quarantine has reminded you that are good and right in your life.
Then make another list—a list of things you have recognized you need to let go of; things this quarantine has reminded you are not from God, but may be distracting you from the things God has for you.
Embrace the first list, repent of the second; ask God to help you hold on to the one… and let go of the other.
Prayer Gracious God, who made us as human beings to love and to be loved, in our agency and free will, we have abused your gifts and made gods of ourselves and our desires. Forgive us, set us back on the right path. Give us the power to embrace what is good and lovely and right, and the courage to let go of everything that is not. Through Christ, our Lord, we pray. Amen.