It’s staggering how much change can occur in one week.
Just over a week ago we were still meeting in-person—albeit cautiously. We stared incredulously at the empty grocery store shelves formerly housing untold brands of toilet paper, antiseptic wipes, and fresh meat. We began to pay closer attention to what the COVID-19 pandemic was going to mean for Canada.
Conversely, this week, when it should have been non-stop hangouts with friends due to March Break, we were diligently social-distancing. Our extroverted nineteen-year-old daughter, Elanna, came home from Toronto to hunker down at our place. Our equally extroverted 11-year-old, Keira, couldn’t fathom why I was mandating a no playdate policy. In an extraordinary act of self-control, I kept myself away from our two-month-old grandson the entire week.
On the bright side, there has been time for lingering breakfasts, proper meals, movie-watching, a family dance party, and long walks. Elanna and I started a 1000-piece Monet puzzle, Ralph helped Keira rearrange her bedroom, and I painted our entire basement.
It feels like I’ve been dropped back into my 70’s childhood. People are spending time crowded on the couch watching TV together, playing board games, and even going outside.
To think it took something like a massively contagious virus to alter our behavior, to make us look at things differently. I wonder when this is over will we jump right back into our former habits or will there be a new, healthier, more intentional normal?
Times of difficulty can swing the door wide to fear and frustration. Our ability to be thankful and peaceful can be challenged when our freedom is suddenly restricted, our social lives curtailed, and our ability to purchase toilet paper frustrated. It can pull the curtain on where our true source of peace and provision lies. But uncertainty can also offer us the opportunity to reflect and appreciate things more fully. It can help us to truly see.
Trials afford us the opportunity to see ourselves for who we really are—to take an honest look at our true character. We may like what we see, but hardship may also allow a glimpse at some areas that aren’t quite so lovely. Such times offer us the chance to course-correct.
Trials can also encourage creativity and bolster an attitude of thankfulness. We work hard to problem-solve finding solutions from alternate perspectives, and we become more resourceful and try new things in new ways. The acquisition of material possessions fade and we discover that we are rich with the beauty of family and friends, neighbors who check on us, and even social media to connect with others when physical distance is necessary.
Times of trials also afford a barometer of our degree of faith. Do we really trust the One we say we love and follow? Are we able to hand over our fears and doubts to the One who offers to carry our weighty cares? Can we return to God in the midst of uncertainty and calm ourselves in His presence? Can we, in turn, offer peace and kindness to those around us when they are feeling fearful or unwell?
Let’s stay in God’s perfect peace, remembering we are deeply loved, and share that peace and love with others.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.