We are emerging.
Slowly but surely, it seems the world is coming back out again. It’s a process, to be sure, but the first steps are being taken out of quarantine. And it feels weird, doesn’t it? A bit like your first day of middle school – knowing you belong there, just like everyone else, but still trying to figure out exactly how things work in this new version of the world.
Where do I stand? Where do you stand? How do we greet each other? How to we go in and out of doors when other people are doing the same? It’s all very strange, and perhaps that’s one of the things we are taking with us from quarantine. It’s a new sort of self-consciousness we have all grown while we’ve been closed in; it’s a general distrust of environments, and a loss of familiarity with that which was completely familiar before. These are all things we are walking outside with. We didn’t intend to bring those things with us; rather, they were born of our experience and have now become part of our inner psyche whether we want them there or not.
But I wonder – what else are you and your family bringing with you from quarantine? Perhaps there are other things – more intentional things – that you might have developed during the last several weeks that you might not want to put aside. I’d suggest at least three of these all our families might want to hang onto together:
1. A deliberate pace.
Quarantine has made us SLOW DOWN. Granted, it’s mainly because there was less to do, but especially for families, this time has forced us away from an activity based lifestyle. For the last few weeks, we have not been driven by the multitude of activities on the calendar each day, and instead have had to fill the time more intentionally. And more intentionally with each other.
Travel ball? Dance? Music lessons? These will all come back eventually. But perhaps one of the things your family will want to take, at least in a measure, is a more proactive stance on the family schedule as a whole. Rather than being victimized by these activities, we are now afforded an opportunity to take a more active role in deciding just what – and how many – activities our families really should be involved in:
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16).
2. A deeper dependence.
If any of us had any illusions about control, surely they got chucked out the window weeks ago. Here we finally met a circumstance that we could not manipulate; that we could not get on top of; that we could absolutely not control. But here’s the thing – it’s not that we had become powerless; it’s that we were all just suddenly and painfully aware of our powerlessness. And that’s not a bad thing.
We spend so much of our lives fooling ourselves into believing that we are actually the ones in charge, as if a disease that we didn’t even know about three months ago couldn’t literally shut down the entire planet. But here we are. Now we know. Now we are aware. And now we have the chance to pray that God would give us our daily bread in a whole new way.
That’s because no matter what is in either our refrigerators or our 401Ks, we are not the charters of our destinies. God is. We are completely dependent on Him, and when we are more fully cognizant of that, our relationship with Him deepens as we more fully trust that He is not only the only One who can provide for us, but He is the only One who loves us enough to fully and completely do so.
3. An increased role.
As parents, we have had the luxury to take a backseat to the spiritual development of our children. We could always fall back on the Sunday school class or the youth group, but all that went away – at least to an extent – last month. Suddenly, parents all over the world became the primary spiritual influence in the lives of our children. We were the ones teaching them to pray, teaching them to read the Bible, teaching them to trust. And this, too, is something we ought to take with us from quarantine.
That’s not to say our kids shouldn’t be influenced by the local church; they should, and we should want it to. But we as parents should not relegate that responsibility to the church. We should instead see all these influences working together for the discipleship of our kids.
Perhaps one of the ways God will redeem these last weeks is that there will be a host of families who never prayed together, never read the Bible together, never sang together – but now they do. And maybe they still will.
These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up (Deut. 6:6-7).
God is in the business of bringing good from bad, friends. Perhaps, even in the midst of everything bad that has and is still happening in the world there is good to come from it. For us, and for our families.