I have been hard pressed to find someone who has just thoroughly enjoyed quarantine. We have all been so accustomed to a busier lifestyle that this “waiting period” has been somewhat stressful. Sure, we have all enjoyed a momentary slow down, but I believe most of us are getting a little restless. I miss my parents and grandparents and nephews and niece. I miss my friends and my patients. I think most of all I miss hugging people! There is just something healing in touching another person.
But I know that there is a greater purpose for this whole thing than just social distancing to help save lives. That is, obviously, very important; I will gladly socially distance if it keeps my family healthy! I am just saying that I think God is using this for an even higher purpose. For a long time I have felt that the Devil’s greatest scheme is keeping families busy, and not necessarily busy with something bad! Sports and hobbies are wonderful ways for families to spend time together, but now we miss church, and we are going in four different directions as all our kids are busy with their own teams. We are not eating supper together, and there is the ever present need to keep up with what everyone else is doing, to catch up and have “Girls’ Night Out” on the regular. Often, both parents are working outside the home to help pay for this whole circus we call “normal.”
There are projections that we will be dealing with Coronavirus (and not just economic effects, but the health effects) until at least 2022. That means it is not going anywhere anytime soon. We aren’t trying to social distance this thing into nonexistence; we are trying to slow it down so that healthcare systems aren’t overwhelmed, so that there are beds available when someone needs to be admitted to the hospital, and so that we can slowly and surely develop some herd immunity. We are all going to be touched by COVID-19 before it goes away; most of us will have a cold or be asymptomatic, some will be very sick, others will die. That is just the cold, hard truth. For Christians, we have to remember that death is not the enemy; suffering is our enemy. Jesus took away death’s power, and there is a greater place waiting for us! So, as I reflect quietly during this slower phase of life, I realize there is something bigger at work here, something more that we should be gleaning from this time.
What is our new “normal” going to look like going forward?
I do not think that it is coincidence that most of us were affected by quarantine during the season of Lent and Easter. During the days leading up to Jesus’s crucifixion, resurrection, and death, he often isolated himself to pray and draw neared to his Father so that he could not just talk to Him, but also HEAR Him. The Bible teaches us, and the Holy Spirit speaks to us, through God’s “still, small voice.” When you are running around like a crazy person, trying to keep up, losing your mind over your impossible schedule, it is hard to hear a voice like that. Maybe, just maybe, God is calling us to quiet down and lean in closer so we can hear Him.
I personally do not want to return to the schedule that my life was prior to this quarantine. I have enjoyed having nights at home, cooking together, eating together. I have been less stressed, despite the nagging worry about my small business. God has bigger plans for me, for you, for all of us, than what COVID-19 is doing to our economy and to our bank accounts. The original church was just small groups of people gathering together in homes, eating together, and leaning into God’s calling. They were frightened at times, persecuted often, and faced death for their beliefs. Today, we are persecuting and prosecuting each other in the court of social media for going to work or for not going to work. We each have to make those decisions for ourselves and for our families. What we are called to do by God is to love each other….without conditions. God didn’t say love the neighbor who agrees with you or the one who votes like you or the one who handles quarantine like you. In fact, none of those things should matter. What matters is kindness and respect and love. We must be respectful, we must try our best not to put each other at risk, but we must also live and let live. There will not be a “magic date” that things go back to “normal.” We must move forward in love, together, into a new type of life that may look differently that what we were doing before. And quite frankly, that may be the best thing that has ever happened to families in America.
Lean in. Listen for the whispers while you wait. God’s still small voice is available to anybody willing to listen. Let Him lead you and guide you into what is His best for you. Use this time to reprioritize what is most important for your family. Scale back on the spending. Look up and enjoy a sunset with those you love the most. Reconsider your purpose, the one God designed just for you, and find a peace you have never known with your new direction and focus.
And lastly, spread love, not germs! Stay safe, my friends! Prayers for peace and for purpose and for a fresh new vision for us all!
In His Love,
Dr. Allison Key