Redeeming the time

These are the times that try men’s souls. Words from another generation, reminding us that each generation has moments of crisis and challenge. In our nation’s brief history — think of the stress of living during the Civil War, the Great Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many of us remember the stress and uncertainty of the days and weeks following 9/11.

The challenge we face now is unique. It appears that at least for a few weeks, possibly months, we are essentially shutting down most public activities to slow the spread of this virus. We hope and pray this season of inactivity, cancelled events, closures and working remotely succeeds in flattening the curve of the spread of this awful virus.

But for those who aren’t sick, what to do with the time? I’m hearing a lot of talk about Netflix binge-watching, but maybe God has another purpose we should consider.

For many of us – I know I often feel this way – we have been running hard for a long time with no relief in sight. We have filled our lives with work, activities, travel and even entertainment – some of which have become idols in our lives. We don’t sleep enough, read enough, think enough, exercise enough, connect enough – we are constantly busy, distracted and stressed.

There are so many negatives with this horrific virus; let’s consider some ways we can make something positive out of the next few weeks and months.

Maybe we can get off the busyness treadmill for a while. Maybe instead of essentially treating our exhaustion by collapsing in front of a Netflix series, we should go for a walk. Read books. Start a journal … or a book. Check in on neighbors. Face-time distant family more often; visit with nearby family and extended family more. Gather in small groups to pray. Build small communities. Play with your kids longer; read to them more. Exercise more consistently. Sleep more. Reflect on the things of God and ask Him to show us what He wants us to learn in these days. Dream.

Even as we pray for those in the eye of the storm – our government leaders and health care professionals and first responders, along with the sick and grieving – for many of us, maybe God is allowing us a respite from our crazy lives.

No question the economic hit the world is taking will make us all poorer. But if we use the time we are given well, maybe we can somehow, in the midst of trial and tragedy, find a way to live richer lives.

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