Blessings in Lessons
The sweetest blessings to me are the ones hard earned and hard learned. Why? Because I know they are mercifully deserved. And God is a so undeservingly merciful to us all. But it’s hard to see or feel His mercy when you’re in the middle of a trial. And boy, isn’t this virus a trial for all of mankind? But God uses all trials to teach us (Romans 8:28). He is teaching each of us many things during these times. Are we willing to learn the lessons He’s blessing us with?
This season that we’re all going through has left many scared, anxious, angry, confused, nervous, frustrated…the list goes on. Not many people (I’ve yet to see or hear of one) have joyfully benefitted from the collapse of our society—and world—right now. You don’t see anyone bragging about how great their life has become thanks to COVID-19. But you don’t have to look far or listen hard for the complaints. I easily can fall prey to this negative thinking. COVID cancelled my trip to Disney World, kept me from my friends and family (I’m watching my 6-month old nephew grow up via video and pictures), has threatened my husband’s business and our livelihood, and so on. We all have our own sob stories we could tell, casting blame on the coronavirus. But what if instead of focusing on all the negative, we sought out the blessings this has brought?
Humility- This virus doesn’t care about gender, race, age, sex, religion, political party, social status, etc. It doesn’t discriminate. Nothing that the world counts as important (wealth, power, status…) matters right now. It’s frightening to not know how to properly combat imaginary enemy. But it’s also humbling (Zephaniah 2:3). Our lives are in the hands of God (Isaiah 41:10). This virus (and nothing else) didn’t surprise Him. He’s got it under control. He’s already on the other side of it. He knows how it will all end. *On another note, it’s also humbling to realize that if a virus that shut down the world can’t thwart God’s Plans, neither can anything I do or not do. Nothing has power over God (Isaiah 14:27).
Hope- As the curve seems to be flattening, and states/businesses start to reopen, hope is rising. But in this hope, we need stay focused on where our true hope lies: God (Psalm 42:11; Psalm 119:114; Psalm 130:5; Proverbs 23:18). It is through and only by God’s mercy that we have anything good. The hope we find elsewhere is misplaced because we miss the mercy God gives us (Psalm 40:11; Psalm 51:1-2; Lamentations 3:25; Nehemiah 9:31; Micah 7:18).
Gratitude- I’m sure you’ve seen all of the thankfulness directed towards the healthcare staff, truck drivers, grocers, delivery personnel, etc. for doing the “essential” work that is keeping the world going. But, many have been forced out of work, or had hours cut, giving all of us a new perspective on our livelihood. We’ve learned to appreciate all we had taken previously for granted: jobs, food/goods availability, school, time with friends and distant family… (Psalm 100:4; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 12:28; Hebrews 13:15).
Seeking God- More time is being spent in prayer—if for no other reason than begging for this to disappear and we get our lives back. But I think even if our prayers begin with that request, we tend to continue the conversation with God. More time is spent studying His Word (1 Chronicles 16:11; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 63:1; Jeremiah 29:13; Luke 11:9-10; Acts 17:27; . I’ve heard many people talk about how they’re getting to read their Bible daily because they have more time; or watching/listening to sermons online they wouldn’t normally seek out. I’ve even seen that people are seeking Scriptures for clues to End Times because of this virus. And then there’s those that, as they are forced to look at their own mortality through this viral threat, are looking for meaning of life, and where it originated, etc. (Deuteronomy 4:29-31; Psalm 14:2; Psalm 27:4; Psalm 40:16; Proverbs 8:17; Isaiah 55:6-7; Hebrews 11: 6). [I would love to know how many people develop a relationship or renew their former one with Jesus because of this.] Truthfully, if something as unprecedented as this in our modern times doesn’t start a revival, then I fear our society is beyond lost (Psalm 80:18; Psalm 85:6; Habakkuk 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Rest- Many of us are finding we have more time on our hands now. Late nights at work are non-existent. School and extra-curricular activities are cancelled. Even most entertainment outlets are closed. We’ve been halted to anything that isn’t “essential’ to living. And with all of this extra time, we can find time to rest. We’d become a society that filled our waking days and nights with constant going and doing. And now that our days and nights are now filled with “staying”, we can take the newly found time to rest our perpetually exhausted bodies. Rest is good for us (Exodus 33:14; Psalm 4:8; Psalm 127:2; Mark 6:31). God rested on day seven of Creation (Genesis 2:2-3) and He commanded us to honor the sabbath (Exodus 20:8-10; Exodus 23:12; Mark 2:27; Hebrews 4:9-11). He never meant for us to fill our lives with anything but Him.
Loving Others- One of the first suggestions that came out when this all started, was to assist our neighbors, family, etc. that are elderly or had health conditions/are immunocompromised. We were told to look out for each other and their needs, not just our own. Many restaurants opened doors to help feed kids that would be missing school meals. Younger family members started grocery shopping for their parents and grandparents. Neighbors started helping neighbors (Proverbs 21:13; Matthew 25:40; Mark 10:45; Luke 3:11; Philippians 2:4; Ephesians 4:32; 1 Timothy 5:8; Hebrews 13:16; 1 John 3:17). By reaching out to those around us to meet their needs, we’re fulfilling God’s commands and showing them Who He Is (Matthew 22:36-39; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:27; John 13:34-35; John 15:25; Galatians 6:2).
This virus, if nothing else, has shown us just how fragile and temporary life is (Psalm 90:10-14; Psalm 102:11; Psalm 144:4; 2 Samuel 14:14; Job 8:9; Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:24; James 4:14). Life is short; earth is temporary; Jesus is eternal. Even though predictions are that this virus could rear its’ head in the fall/winter again, or potentially be something we deal with annually like the flu; it, too, is only temporary. We don’t need to fear this unknown. We just need to remember/think/ponder these blessings to get through this hardship. “Recalling God’s actions in our lives will help to cultivate a grateful heart.” (Tony Evans,The Tony Evan’s Bible Commentary). God is on the other side of this; He will deliver us through it soon enough (Deuteronomy 31:8). God sent the Israelites into exile more than once to bring them back to Him. Let’s learn from them. Use this time to restore your relationship with Jesus. Reprioritize your life to realign with Him.
List some of the blessings you’ve seen through this trial. Send us some encouragement!