I can remember Trevor Yaxley saying to us as students at Lifeway Bible College, “Never waste a good trial or crisis.” So what did he mean? Basically he was asking us to consider what we learnt from our experience. We are now starting to surface in some ways from the crisis that is COVID-19, so what have we learned? How can that inform us going forward?
I am going to give you three questions and reasons why we might ask them. It’s also an opportunity to frame a biblical response to the situation we find ourselves in.
The first question is: What has the Coronavirus crisis taken from us? For many of us it will be very real things we have lost. It may be as extreme as losing a job or business, for some they have used all the savings they had built up for another purpose. It could be the trauma of losing a loved one and not being able to have a funeral or not being able to be at the birth of a child or grandchild. This is a tangible loss that cannot be ignored or glossed over. For some however the loss will be less definable; the uncertainty of what is going to happen, high levels of fear, depression or anxiety. We may not be able to tie them to a single event but that doesn’t mean they are any less real.
For a Christian there is a culture of lament that is biblical. When we have loss it is appropriate to take time to lament that loss, to grieve for it and then when we are ready go on. It may also be appropriate to seek support and help from agencies that will range from WINZ, to church or professional support services. You can ring or text 1737 to talk with a professional counsellor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Secondly: What has the Coronavirus crisis not taken from us? There will be things that have not changed and may have even been strengthened through this time. These things provide core strength going forward. They have been tested and found as worthwhile skills, habits or relationships. I found being intentional with my spiritual disciplines, which I mentioned in a previous email [read here], has been one of the things to celebrate and appreciate. It has helped me work God into multiple facets of my day, building strength and resilience. This process has continued to provide consistent rhythm and routine which has proved valuable. Reflect on what things have strengthened you. Acknowledge these and take them forward.
Lastly: What has the Coronavirus crisis given us? A crisis may provide us with opportunities we were not expecting. Make a list of these things so they don’t slip through the gaps as we move on towards our new normality. It is easy just to return to what we have always done. For me one of the new things that has really worked for Bev and I as a couple is cooking the evening meal together. This gives us time to be together doing something creative and practical while allowing time to debrief from the day. This is something I want to hang on to.
Examining what the crisis has given us provides occasions to celebrate and engage in the biblical practice of thanksgiving to God and to each other.
Things don’t have to be all good or all bad, somethings just are!