Seven Life Lessons from This Crazy Corona Virus Season
Needless to say, the last several weeks have been crazy on so many levels.
As the saying goes, it’s tough to see the forest through the trees. But through this time of no Sunday church, limited connection with others, and worldwide panic, there are a few ways this time has challenged me.
First, to not think too much of myself.
It’s tough to imagine how the world survives without us, our church, or our business. But when we are forced to let all these things go, it reminds us how little control over our lives we have.
Second, rest isn’t such a bad thing!
Recently, for my Ph.D dissertation, I have been studying the history of Toronto, Ontario. It’s fascinating! Something that stands out to me was how seriously they took the Lord’s Day. Not everyone appreciated this and popular figures like Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway both voiced their displeasure. One British visitor named William T. Crosweller (sounds like he should be my lawyer) remarked, “Altogether, Sunday in Toronto is as melancholy and suicidal a sort of day as Puritan principles can make it. The Toronto Sabbath is still as gloomy and forbidding as the English institution in its palmy days.”
While maybe there was some truth to these claims, the last several decades have seen us swing in an entirely new direction.
We’ve avoided the idea of having a day of rest all together. We run like crazy, seven days a week, all day long, and then wonder why we find ourselves stressed, anxious and hating life. This despite all the studies telling us we are not wired to live this way!
Rest is awesome. We should try it more often.
Third, North America is not all there is.
In Canada and the US, there is this tendency among Christians to view the end of the world based upon what is happening in Canada, the US, or Israel. Example: Only AFTER the Corona virus made it to North America did I see many of my fellow Christians becoming concerned and making “end of the world” comments. We forget that tragedies plague our globe all the time!
I like this recent comment from my Facebook friend in Toronto, Pastor Trevor Seeth: “Pastors, Planters, and Church Leaders: If you’ve only lived in Canada and don’t already have a friend who knows more than you about leading in troubled times, it’s time to reach out. For some of you, the new friends you need to make are already renting space in your building!”
Fourth, this is a great opportunity to learn!
Just as it is great to know church leaders who have suffered persecution in other countries, it’s a great idea to understand the different perspectives of how people think.
Example: I grew up very conservative in my political ideology. Liberals were wackos who just wanted to spend everyone else’s money. Then I moved to Toronto, and hung out with lots of “wackos” and even liked them! They challenged, and in some cases, changed the way I think for the better.
When it comes to understanding how others think, there is a major difference between knowing someone who has a different political/religious perspective and doing life with that person and gaining a fuller understanding for why they live and act the way they do. You see this play out with Covid-19. Some say it’s a joke and that nothing should be closed. Others think businesses should be shut down indefinitely.
Often, the great divide in thinking comes down to the differences between urban and rural culture. But this season is unique in that A) We have a global event that people care about and B) We get to see everyone’s unique perspective on this event through social media. What a great opportunity to learn from others who see the world differently!
Fifth, this is a great opportunity for Christians to step up to the plate!
And I’m not just talking the offering plate either.
Yes, God’s kingdom will go forward without us. But with every fresh obstacle is a new opportunity!
I’ve read a number of people making statements like, “This virus will forever shift the way we do church in Canada/US.” Others are saying it is the end of the mega-church movement or making a push for why virtual worship is a solid alternative to in person gatherings. I don’t know if any of this is true.
Here is what I do know. The church was built on the backs of everyday men and women who did their part to carry the weight. It wasn’t about one or two people at a building, putting on a show. It’s the same today and something I appreciate about the current church we attend.
I love my wife for many reasons and here is one of them. The same day all the craziness started breaking out in the US was the same day she made out a tithe check to our local church. She was worried along with others about the things we can worry about: Will there be enough in the store for us? Will the government shut down work? But for her it was first things first.
Sitting on the sidelines at church is fun. An hour or two Sunday morning and you’re out the door to lunch. But getting involved is a lot messier, albeit infinitely more rewarding. If this whole Covid-19 time does anything in the Western church, I hope it shakes us free from religious consumerism and rebirths a passion in everyday men and women to be the church.
Sixth, there will always be enough.
The toilet paper stories were funny…for a while. But eventually, the hoarding mentality people can have is just sad. Thankfully, there are lots of exceptions!
Recently, my wife was in a local grocery store. There in the diaper aisle was a nurse who was just coming off duty. There was one box left. If anyone had a right to be greedy, it was her. Instead, she immediately offered the box to Janan (Fortunately, Janan was looking for a different size).
When Janan shared this story with me later, she said that tiny act of selflessness almost made her cry, and it reminded me of the importance of living from a place of abundance.
As Christians, everything we need is in Christ. Because of this, we don’t need to hoard and be consumed by self. We can be smart, wash our hands and be careful around others, but we can and should look for ways to be generous.
Seventh, it’s just plain fun to laugh!
It’s no coincidence that some of the best comedians came out of the most difficult situations. Seriously, just check a famous comedians bio and if you dig deep enough it seems they have often come out of some painful season. A bad childhood, rotten teenage years, or some midlife crisis are difficult, but they also have a way of making us realize we can find humor and joy in every situation.
Covid-19 is serious stuff, but there are many fresh ways to find and choose joy during this season. Let’s find them and spread joy where there is darkness!