The year is 2020. The year of unknowns, when impossibilities were made possible, and fear plagued many.
The year the world will never forget.
A year our children will one day be reading about in their history and science books. It all started… well, we’re not really sure how it began, but we do know how it quickly plagued the earth.
If you were one who watched the CDC maps, you saw it. You watched as the virus quickly made its way closer and closer to your doorstep. And there was nothing you could do about it.
So instead, the government shut down gatherings, shut down churches, restaurants, and schools. For months, we are all quarantined in our homes wondering what the future holds.
Many may think of this season and feel anger, sadness, and fear. Or maybe you feel hopeful. And you’re not wrong. All those feelings are real and it is okay to express them. But there is one thing that is not okay: we cannot go back to the way things were. When busyness plagued our homes, when sporting games were more important than Jesus, or when invisible walls were built around our homes and divided neighborhoods. The world has been given a second chance and we can’t let it go to waste.
Many may think of this season and feel anger, sadness, fear, or maybe you feel hopeful. And you’re not wrong. All those feelings are real and it is okay to express them. But there is one thing that is not okay, we cannot go back to the way things were.
When I stop and reflect on how our world has been affected, how my life has been turned upside down, by one virus, I am reminded of Paul.
Before Paul was Paul, he was Saul. He lived his life the way he wanted to, persecuting Christians. Until one day when God said enough is enough. Saul was walking along the road, on his way to Damascus to bring any Christians he found back to Jerusalem to be persecuted. Although Saul had his plan, God had another plan.
He showed up on the road to Damascus, showed Himself to Saul, and sent him on his way, blinded. (Acts 9:1-9) Needless to say, Saul's life was turned upside down. Sound familiar? Many of us are going about our lives, doing all we can to stay caught up in life, doing all we can to serve Jesus, to keep juggling all the responsibilities we have without dropping any.
Now hear me, none of those things are wrong, but when the enemy knows he can’t get us to sin, he bombards us with busyness.
Now when Saul reached Damascus, he was praying, crying out to God to heal him. God, hearing his prayer, sent Ananias to heal Saul of his blindness. When what is described as scales fell from his eyes, his eyes were opened to the truth and he received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 9:10-19)
God hears your prayers in this season!
He sees your tears, feels your fear, and He is answering your prayers! We won’t always be ordered to stay in our homes. One day we will return to work, return to gathering as a church body.
For some, we will see our family again, the financial hardships will lessen. The ‘scales’ will fall from our eyes and we will see the truth! Then we are faced with a decision: will we return to the path we were on when our life was turned upside down, or will we continue on the path God has placed us?
God hears your prayers in this season! He sees your tears, feels your fear, and He is answering your prayers!
When Saul’s eyes were opened, the scripture says “he arose and was baptized.” (Acts:9:19) Luke goes on to give an account of how Saul went to preach Christ in the synagogues, (Acts 9:20) escaped death threats, spent time in prison, came near death, all to preach Christ!
What Saul perceived as his life being turned upside down, was actually his life being turned right side up. And after being given a second chance, he knew he could not return to the way things were. And we mustn't either. No, we must make the decision today: will we allow our families to go back to the way things were?
We have spent almost two months without sports to watch, restaurants to eat at, or appointments to attend. We have been allowed this precious gift to just be.
Be with our children, cook meals and eat together, teach our children about Jesus!
Parents have been allowed the precious gift to put away the busyness, the work, the cellphones, and be with their children. We have heard blessing after blessing come from families whose children have accepted Jesus, families brought back together, parents getting to take in every moment of their children’s lives.
What Saul perceived as his life being turned upside down, was actually his life being turned right side up.
When the government releases the stay-at-home order, what will you do? Will you return to the way things were? To busy nights full of practice and recitals. To busy weekends of sporting events and leaning on fast food restaurants for a quick meal.
Or will you continue forward with the second chance? Keeping your evenings free for family dinners and game nights. Opening your home on the weekends to neighbors who become friends. Sharing Jesus with your children and watching their eyes light up as they receive the Holy Spirit. Inviting all those you meet to know and accept Jesus.
Will you make the decision with me today to not return to the way things were? Will you commit with me to praise God for this second chance and live each day making the most of every moment He gives us!