(Some facts gleaned from an article by Os Hilman)
The Great Bubonic Plague of London that began in 1664 claimed more than 100,000 lives over a period of 18 months. During the outbreak, social distancing was practiced even then. Those living in the city who could afford to do so fled to the countryside. Cambridge University closed for the duration of the plague. A 23-year-old mathematics student by the name of Isaac Newton headed home to his family’s farm. He spent the next year and a half for self-quarantining reading, studying, and thinking alone. He would later describe that time as the most intellectually productive period of his life.
During that time, he invented an entirely new mathematical discipline. The mathematics required to derive these laws did not exist in Newton’s day. The laws laid the foundation for classical mechanics, and upon it, generations of physicists would build towering edifices. Without those laws, calculus, modern mathematics, engineering, and statistics would be impossible.
God often used isolation to prepare his leaders for a greater assignment. Paul wrote many of his epistles when he was imprisoned. Joseph was sold into slavery and later accused of a crime he did not do which landed him in prison. God used those years of preparation for what would be an assignment as second in command of Egypt.
King David was forced to flee Saul, who was trying to kill him. He ended up in the Cave of Adullam as his hiding place. During his time in the cave he wrote three of the Psalms — Psalm 34, 57, and 142.
We may not have been exposed to the virus, but I wonder if we’ve all been exposed BY the virus. There is nothing like an unexpected crisis to expose our weaknesses that normally lay hidden or ignored. But when everything around us is changing, there is one thing that is certain: times of struggle provide the sweetest opportunities to grow.
When we feel pressure, scared, or overwhelmed, there are two opportunities. There is an opportunity for God to prove his faithfulness, power, and love, and there is an opportunity for us to allow his Spirit to produce growth and change.
My prayer for us during this time is that we would think through our situation and focus on what things matter most and what things are eternal, and put all our efforts into glorifying God as we endure our trials. With all this time at home, maybe we need to:
· connect with that particularly difficult child
· pursue a meaningful, needful, possibly overdue, conversation with our spouse.
· ask a neighbor if you can serve them in some way or carve out the time to just get to know them
· forgive and/or heal the offense and hurt that’s grown between you and another
· live in and make the most of the present instead of the past
Now is the time to reset. Now is the time to seek Him first. Now is the time to prioritize what it is that matters most! Let’s not waste this opportunity!
Father, we need your perspective and guidance as we go through these times of uncertainty and insecurity. Lead us to make the right choices and respond in the right ways in which to act and react to the different situations we are facing. May we not forget your promise to work for the good of those who love you. In Jesus’ name, amen.