These COVID days are difficult times indeed. However, we have endured difficult days before and these will soon pass as well.
But what will we learn? How will COVID-19 change the way we live? What will remain the same?
The Old Testament recounts numerous times God allowed His people to suffer in order to turn their hearts to Him. I believe God has allowed the coronavirus and has an ultimate purpose for it. I wrote previously that my greatest coronavirus fear is that we will go back to the way we were before.
Today, I want to share with you the thing I most pray will stay the same in post-COVID times.
I pray that this apparent renewed sense of dependence on God is real and lasting, not superficial, superstitious, and fleeting.
Below are three things I pray stay the same and give evidence we individually have heard from God.
Crosses and bows
Many yards now sport crosses and red bows as testimony to our faith in God in these trying times. I love visible testimonies such as these. They enable passersby to see with their eyes what they may not hear from our mouths.
I’ve seen pictures of crosses and bows from people who, pre-COVID, gave little attention to the things of God. Have you now had a change of heart? Will Jesus now be the center of your life even when you have no fear of a virus?
And … what happens when the crosses and bows come down? Will we put them away or put them to action? When the crisis is over, will we still see the need to profess our dependence on Jesus?
Even if they stay up, will they become merely decoration that reminds us of how good we now have it? Or will we put into action with our hands and feet what we declare with our decorations?
Most people I know miss going to church and seeing their church families. I know I miss mine. We have connected as much as possible online, but not everyone has that access. Moreover, an online connection is not the same as in person. I miss hugs and handshakes.
But, will we miss going to church so much that we will do whatever is necessary not to miss going to church? We grieve the loss of going to church now. But, when no longer quarantined, will we once again choose ball, beaches, and business over church on Sunday?
For those who rarely attended church before but now express dependence on God, will we see you at church regularly? Will those who faithfully attended church, now appreciate the assembly more and look for more than just shallow ritual?
I pray our desire to attend church services will stay the same.
How we define ‘church’
My church hears me say often, “Don’t just go to church, be the church.” COVID-19 has had a way of forcing that on us. Quarantine restrictions have prevented us from going to church, but I have noticed several members being the church.
We are caring for our neighbors and checking on our members. I hear stories of our church members running errands and sharing supplies with others. But what when the government lifts the quarantine and we can gather again, will these things continue? If so, will they continue as the exception or the norm?
Preachers have flooded Facebook with sermons and musicians have filled it with praise. I pray that when we are able to meet again regularly that we will still see the need to expand our reach electronically. I hope we will intentionally, creatively, and aggressively share the Gospel online.
These are but a few things that will indicate changed hearts. They will indicate that some good things stay the same after the crisis.