Liz and I have turned our bedroom into a makeshift work area so I can office at home during these stay-at-home orders. The other day while working, I heard my boys in another room on a Zoom call laughing hysterically with some friends. I got up to check on them and walked past my daughter’s room where she was also on a Zoom call with some of her friends. They were sharing prayer requests and praying. I paused in the hallway of our home, overwhelmed with what was taking place. While my heart has been heavy with all that is going on, it was a great relief for me to see my kids, in the midst of this pandemic, finding a way to stay connected, to laugh, and to pray together.
While there are moments of beauty, there’s also an incredible sadness in what we are all walking through. Thousands are dying every week, and thousands more are losing their jobs. On top of these difficulties is the call for us to physically distance. Our inability to gather together to worship every week, to see our friends, to give someone hurting a hug… these are things I long for.
When will things return to normal? When will the church building open? I wish I had answers to those questions. The truth is, no one really knows what will happen next during this strange time. We are all trying to do our best to navigate a situation none of us have ever been through before. It’s good for us to be in prayer for wisdom and direction.
One thing I believe to be true is that this time won’t last forever. Some of us, myself included, need to be reminded that quarantine is not permanent. And some of us need to be reminded that caution and a love of neighbor is not weakness. In some sense, we are in the place that C.S. Lewis referenced in his famous “Learning in Wartime” lecture during the height of World War II. Lewis shared how frustrating and full of fear the time was. And yet, he said, he believed there was something to be gained in all the loss.
“All the animal life in us, all schemes of happiness that centered in this world, were always doomed to a final frustration…In ordinary times only a wise man can realize it. Now the stupidest of us knows. We see unmistakably the sort of universe in which we have all along been living, and we must come to terms with it…If we had foolish un-Christian hopes about human culture, they are now shattered. If we thought we were building up a heaven on earth, if we looked for something that would turn the present world from a place of pilgrimage into a permanent city satisfying the soul of man, we are disillusioned, and not a moment too soon.”
When we gather together again things will not “return to normal.” They won’t be “normal” because we have all changed. While we have adapted and been creative in how we stay connected, we also have seen first-hand how the things of this world spoil and fade. Our silver lining is that this truth will lead many to our true inheritance that will never perish!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3-4)