As we are all living through this COVID-19 pandemic it is easy to get discouraged, depressed, and flat out angry that everything around us is unwinding as fast as it is. Markets are declining, church services are cut, and our daily lives are interrupted. However, if you look at what the Bible has to say about difficult times you will notice that it is usually through these types of difficulties that God teaches us something critical for our long-term spiritual health. There are countless examples in the Bible of God leading His people to victory through trials and tribulations. Take the apostle Paul, for example. Even though he was locked away in a Roman prison, he still found a way to impact lives, share the gospel, and stay positive. So, as we are experiencing these difficulties, instead of being upset, we as believers should start looking into our own lives and seeing what it is that we can improve on, or how we can better serve God in the current global climate. It’s through these difficulties that we can slow down our daily lives and draw closer to God. Below are three issues that have become more evident through this latest trial and that are worth some extra attention:
First, the world is becoming more and more internet based, and as of now, it seems like the church is not winning the battle of the internet. While almost every church has a physical presence, many have no online presence. We are now living in a time where anyone can open a YouTube account and stream as much content as they want, whether they are on quarantine or not. Maybe this latest event can spark the trend where churches develop new ministries to dive into the online/live streaming world so that they can reach just as many people outside of the church building as they can inside.
Another problem that was put into the spotlight through this crisis is the lack of community and compassion. That was seen by the way people ravaged the stores and bought out hundreds and thousands of sanitizer bottles and toilet paper rolls. This type of behavior suggests that people aren’t connected to their communities and only care about their own wellbeing. A person who is connected to their community would buy only what they need and would be considerate of other people’s needs. So maybe this is a good time to reconsider our busy lifestyles and make a conscious effort to develop more meaningful relationships in our communities.
The last of the three issues is the way we handle our finances. After a record setting economic expansion that has lasted eleven years and had record low unemployment, there should be no reason that healthy working individuals can’t make first month’s rent or a mortgage payment. That many are struggling with this right now proves that just as we don’t set aside enough time to build healthy relationships in our communities, we also don’t set aside enough finances to have a healthy margin that can help us get through short-term emergencies. The Bible has many passages that speak to how we should handle our finances. Maybe after this virus pandemic passes we can all start to pay attention to those passages just as much as we do all the others, and start developing lifestyles that are actually sustainable through any circumstance that we may face.
If we take a lesson from the apostle Paul when he was in jail in Rome, using this latest trial to strengthen our faith and to find a new way to share God’s word with the world, then we will come away from this pandemic better off than we were before it.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. — Romans 5:3