What I am learning during the coronavirus lockdown
Our world has been turned completely upside down by covid19 hasn’t it? All the plans we had for 2020 have been royally messed up. Then there are the worrisome thoughts that creep into our hearts…will things ever return to normal? What will happen to our economy? Will I still have a job? Is this God’s judgement? Is this the end times!? What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to think about this!?
I think it is safe to say that many of us are feeling nervous and on edge about what is happening right now. I have been feeling edgy myself! Being in a foreign country, and on top of that moving into a new city just as this disaster struck. However, I have also heard many good stories about people who continue to learn and grow in spite of the pandemic chaos. I decided to join in and write down some thoughts about what I have been learning personally these days.
- Be careful how you listen
The pastor of our church in Japan preached a sermon on the parable of the sower, reminding us of Jesus’ words: “Take care then how you hear”. We know that in this parable, the seed (God’s Word) falls on different kinds of soil which each represents how different people respond to God’s Word. The point of the passage is not the importance of God’s Word, but the importance of hearing it properly. I have been challenged because although I believe in the importance of God’s Word, I don’t think I have been hearing the way I should. I have allowed distractions to creep in and affect the way I respond which is not good at all. I have opened my ears too much to social media, news and other forms of noise; riding the waves of worry instead of focusing on the Word of God. After a decision to be more intentional in my Bible reading AND listening, I have been amazed at the ways in which God has spoken to me through Scripture. I am learning that it’s not simply about reading a passage, but reading it and actively listening, actively asking God what He is telling me today.
- My senses are often dull to kingdom matters
Too often I get stuck thinking about my own plans instead of thinking and praying about what God is doing globally through this pandemic. I was very frustrated that I am not able to do the ministry I planned to do. What kind of missionary sits in the house all day!? How am I supposed to share the Gospel if I can’t have gatherings or meet up with people!? I’ve been stuck in my own narrow world instead of thinking more about what God is doing globally. I have been frustrated in my own situation instead of seeking to join God’s kingdom work today through prayer and by changing my plans to suit His. The biggest adventure is to serve where God’s Spirit is moving, not where I selfishly want to serve.
- I suck at resting
I know the importance of rest but realized that I am simply not good at it. Believe me, I am very good at wasting time, but wasting time and rest are two completely different things. We live in a culture where rest is seen as laziness or lack of dedication but its actually essential to our well-being. Now that I have more free time than usual, instead of resting in the Lord and trusting Him to fill my schedule, I run around trying to fill my schedule myself. I panic whenever I have an open diary and get stressed out for not being busy enough. This is not a healthy lifestyle and its an important lesson I am learning in these days. I am far from mastering the discipline of rest but at least I am more aware of its importance in my life.
- The internet gives loads of opportunity for good ministry
Lately, most churches have been forced to move all their ministry online. Our Church has been doing the same thing and so every week we do a streaming service and I upload a children’s message to my YouTube channel. These videos have been watched by hundreds of people in various countries and the reach is by far wider than what I could do preaching at a single venue. It has been encouraging to hear about non-Christians who don’t go to church watch these videos online. Through the internet, an opportunity has been given to reach people we would not normally be able to reach and I wonder how the kingdom is advancing through these means.
What kind of lessons have you been learning in these days? Take time to think about it and write it down. It might be that there are ways you can grow, and things you can learn in these lockdown days that you may not be able to otherwise. Things about yourself. Things about God. Things about the needs of the world. Let’s keep our eyes, ears, and hearts wide open to what God would reveal to us.