Everyone wonders what life will be like in the months to come. It’s natural to wonder. How and when will the authorities “re-open” our area? When will we go back to our workplaces, have celebrations and how many people will be allowed to gather at once? When will we be able to worship together again on Blaney Avenue? How will church life be different? How can we, the people attached to Jesus, reach out with compassion to our community in this time and make Him known?
Living the with-God life balances time withdrawing in solitude with the Lord and time engaging with or reaching out to people. Both are important. We saw both in Jesus’ life. He went out and engaged with people and then withdrew to pray and rest. This rhythm of engagement and withdrawal leads us toward maturity and dependence on God rather than ourselves. It’s the natural ebb and flow of the with-God life.
Sheltering in place is likely affording us more intentional time to attend to our relationship with God. We may be paying better attention to our interior world, noticing how and when we move toward God or away from Him. We want to grow in experiencing and knowing God rather than just knowing about Him. I pray this time of withdrawal connects us deeply into the heart of God, but also deeply into the needs of the world.
The needs of the world are going to be different as things “open up” gradually. We’re hearing repeatedly “We’re all in this together,” and indeed the coronavirus has rightfully united people around the cause. Compassion is in fashion with appeals to support the hungry and unemployed and small businesses. Again, this is very appropriate. I wonder how God will lead us to engage with our community in new ways in the coming months, both individually and corporately. Let’s be ready to be of use to our troubled world.
And as with any time we wonder and pray about the future, let’s balance it with, “If it’s the Lord’s will…”
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”