“Whatever you eat, or whatever you drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

With most of the nation and world in some degree of lockdown due to the Coronavirus, we are now in an unprecedented and unusual situation. With most people being advised to cancel events and classes and doing telework, there is now the question of, “what do we do now?” The first answer, I hope, is to pray. Pray that God will protect lives, provide wisdom for those who are developing cures and solutions, and that He will of His own accord cause this virus to wane and ebb in its effects and spread. The second answer is that we should plan. Not just to plan to survive by buying essential items from the store, but also to plan how to grow and maximize this time for our good and for the glory of God. I see three main areas of focus during this time: personal growth, deepening relationships and compassion for others. 

Personal Growth: While I am certain there are many regular activities and work schedules that will take revising and thinking through, it is also possible that the removing of many events from your calendar has provided time. That time can be redeemed for great good if used well. Is there scripture study you have not done? You might consider reading through a whole book like Matthew or Acts or Esther in a sitting—I dare say the two hours will be more impactful than binge watching your favorite streaming service. Take time to pray and reflect over what you read and how you can apply it in your life and our present situation.

Take care of your body. Get a full amount of rest. Eat healthy. Exercise. If practical, go outside and take a walk. Prayer walks can be enormously encouraging times with God. Absorb some vitamin D from the sun. It not only will help you feel better, these normal habits will help care for your heart and mind.

Deepening Relationships: This is so crucial, because isolation furthers and even causes anxiety. We were made for relationship. If you have family at home, take extra time to sing together, pray, play games and take walks. For those outside our home, even though we cannot be physically close to those outside our immediate family, we can take time to catch up on phone or video calls with family and friends we have not talked to, and know we should. Say the things you should be saying and encourage each other from a distance. The pressure of a time like this can actually be the vehicle by which God brings down walls that have been built up over time. Share your faith with a friend, and invite them to join you in trusting God during this time.

Love your neighbors: Some people are already isolated or physically limited in what they can do. Other neighbors have been really hard hit by the economic shutdown, as it may impact their business disproportionately. We can offer to do simple chores—work in their yard or run to the store or share a meal. Maybe it just means listening and praying for them. God may reveal specific ways you can help in the challenges they are facing. The impact of someone who moves toward need in crisis rather than away from it is incalculable – and very much like Jesus Christ, who moved toward us in our need, even at great cost to himself.

There are no accidents. This season of trial represents an incredible opportunity if we recognize that God has a purpose for us in this. Whatever additional purposes there may be, the end result will be that this hardship brings greater glory to God as we cherish Him and love others through it.