We have now been in quarantine for over 8 weeks. That’s two months of no restaurants, sports gatherings, symphonies, play dates, girl’s nights, etc. I am so thankful to report that my family and I have been healthy the whole time and I realize how much worse this could be.
That being said… my heart has been restless these last months to say the least. By the world’s standards, I have ‘failed’ quarantine. I have not picked up any good habits or read any good books. I have mainly sought comfort and distraction to pass the time. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed the slower pace of life and more quality time with my husband and all six of my kids. But the 10 pounds of weight I’ve gained IN THE LAST 6 WEEKS tells me I may be over-enjoying the wrong things.
Man wasn’t created to be alone. Isolation and humanity don’t go well together. Many of us, whether we are introverted or extroverted, are craving interaction and communion with others. I also feel that this isolation causes a lot of restlessness in humanity. So when we are restless and anxious, we seek comfort. The right answer is to go to God, our source of comfort and hope. Yet, that second bowl of ice cream (or the third … fourth … or seventh hour of Netflix binging) seems like a more enjoyable quick fix.
But after reading the scriptures for this upcoming Sunday, when we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, I am reminded of a few things.
While We Wait
First, after the resurrection Jesus did not stay on earth; he went home to heaven. We, like Jesus, were not created for this world. Perhaps hunger and thirst and boredom are built in, automatic reminders that we are never fully satisfied until we are in the arms of our eternal, constant and unchanging God.
So while we are on earth, awaiting full union with God, what are we to do? Jesus also reminds us as he Ascends, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always until the end of the age.” Ok cool. So all we have to do is make disciples of the nations. Sweet. I can do that … as soon as the next episode of The Office is over.
We have a clear mission: Go make disciples. So let’s chat how we can do this, quarantine style.
Step 1: Be Kind:
So you head to the grocery store and don’t wear a mask and you get evil eyes from all the mask-wearing folks … be kind to them. You do wear a mask but see someone who does not wear one … be kind to them. Someone yells at you over social media because of what you posted … be kind to them. Your mother-in-law is freaked out about everything and is calling you more often than you’d prefer … be kind to her. We are Christians. We are called to be Christ to others. Christ was kind and understanding and patient and humble. Be like Christ. In every opportunity we have.
Step 2: Be Hopeful
There is no shortage of fear in our world today. Many of us are asking a ton of questions and not getting any answers (or very conflicted ones!). Jesus tells his disciples that we may not know the time or the place of the coming of his Kingdom, but that “The Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” So perhaps instead of focusing our energy on learning all the answers when there are none yet, let’s focus on our encounters of the Holy Spirit. How has God acted in our life recently? Have you told others about that? The people of this world need hope. They need to hear of the Lord’s presence. Go make disciples by being witnesses, sharing what you have encountered.
Step 3: Be Joyful
GOD HAS THIS. So we don’t have to. That frees me to be joyful! The Psalm for Sunday, “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord!” I can so relate. So imagine you are a mom of 6 kids (4 with school work during the day and two who are 18 month old twins who have discovered they like the same toys and fight All. The. Time.) and you are quarantined in your home almost all day every day. AND THEN IMAGINE that someone who is a way better parent then you, comes in takes care of your children so you can have a break for a bit. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL?? I would feel pretty darn joyful. If you don’t feel joy, let God be the King of your world. He’ll do a better job than you.
Step 4: You be you, and let God be God.
What is your role in all of this? What talents and gifts has God blessed you with? Are you a painter? Paint something that glorifies God and tells others of his love for you in your life. Do you like to read? Share something you’ve read that moves you, comforts you, and tells you of the goodness of God. Are you a thoughtful person? Write a letter to someone who may not have a lot of interaction. Your thoughtful note may warm their hearts and comfort them more than you know. Each of us are created for a purpose, and our natural gifts and talents are hints on what that purpose may be. Don’t try and solve the world’s problems right now. Let God handle that mess. You just be you, and let others see God in that.
Let’s all try to follow these steps moving forward! And it doesn’t have to end when quarantine does!
Copyright 2020 Stacy Halbach