My wife, Candace, and I often enjoy a cup of tea in the evenings. Our electric water pot has a window on one side lit by a bluish light, and when the water boils, the bubbles that shine like pearls fascinate me.
I tell Candace, “You’re missing the blue bubbles!” She shakes her head, and rolls her eyes. She doesn’t share my fascination, and that’s okay. I find joy in simple things. I studied entomology in college, and once spent several hours watching an ant trail for a class project. Enough said.
Through social media, people give account of the many ways they fill their days during this time of “sheltering in place.” They binge watch their favorite series on TV, assemble huge puzzles, and even re-discover board games or baking with their families. I write, garden, strum my guitar, stuggle to convince myself to exercise, phone friends, send cards, read good books, and enjoy the company of my wife.
Some spend their time volunteering, delivering food and supplies to at-risk neighbors, making facemasks for caregivers, giving blood, mowing lawns, looking in on friends. Our neighbors said they would go grocery shopping for us, and I told my wife they must view us as the seniors on the block. Bless them, and thank the Lord, we still do our own shopping, just less often.
I anticipated celebrating Easter with our church family, and a special meal with loved ones around the table. Now, friends over for dessert sounds like a luxury. Bible studies canceled, no trips to the coast, no family rendezvous in Oregon; all gone with the pandemic. Whining doesn’t help. We’re blessed. Many have suffered in the past few months, and it’s hard to take in. Yet, I know God loves us in the midst of our tribulation.
“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things” (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV.)
Back to the blue bubbles. This amusement stops when the automatic switch trips. Life changes moment by moment, like our water pot. I hear the phrase “new normal” with increasing frequency. I can’t predict what changes will happen in our daily lives when the pandemic subsides, and I don’t believe anyone else possesses that ability either. For those who know the Lord as Savior, scripture tells us God changes us continually.
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18, NIV.)
Only God changes my heart. I can’t change myself into a better person, but I can still use this time to reassess what God is telling me. There are positive things I can do to improve my journey through life. Paul gave useful advice to the Philippians.
“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]” (Philippians 4:8, AMP.)
The Marines train to improvise, adapt and overcome in any situation. In this time of quarantine, people have adapted to reconnect with each other. In response to the cessation of in-church services, Christians have employed technology, and switched to virtual services. I have a long-time pastor friend in North Carolina. His congregation numbers about 55 people, and most don’t have a computer or smartphone, so once a week he calls each household to pray with them. God made us to worship Him in community.
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; (Philippians 1:27, ESV.)
Christ has one bride, His church, in unity, worshiping together.
“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32, ESV.)
Our Heavenly Father takes note when a small bird falls to the ground, and I believe nothing escapes His eye as the entire world navigates through this pandemic. I patiently watch for His wonderful, loving hand of mercy every day.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8.)