Normal life as we knew it changed at 5:11 PM on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. That’s when a health official ran onto the court seconds before the tip-off of the Utah Jazz/Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game. Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. Game canceled. Season canceled. The first of many games, seasons, graduations, birthday parties, schools, and church services which would need to be canceled.
Baseline’s final in-person gathering was that next Sunday, March 15th. My big question was… I wonder if this will all be over in time for us to celebrate Easter together under the tent on April 12th? Little did I know! Now, as we move into our fifth month of pandemic quarantine it’s easy to lament: “I wish we could just go back to the way things were before!” On a walk this morning, Nancy reminded me that this is not the first pandemic God has seen… His creation has been through scores of pandemics and God is able to work through them to bring about his good purposes for the world (and for me as his follower). And that it’s not about looking back but looking ahead.
When I think about what our Lord wants to develop in my life, I am consistently drawn to the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
And, I wonder what a “new normal” might look like in the future as I allow the Spirit of God to change me through the experiences of these most unusual past months…
One day I will be able to celebrate with my extended family without the fear of spreading a virus and I will LOVE them deeply with words, encouragement, time, and hugs which I just won’t let go because I’ve realized how important family is.
One day we will meet again in a sanctuary full of worshippers and I will sing with great JOY as I experience the good God who is always with me and has provided for me during these days when I have felt so many needs.
One day I will find myself becoming anxious because of the circumstances around me and yet I will experience PEACE from the one who is in control of all things as I recall how God was there in my fears.
One day I will sense myself becoming annoyed with the checker who is taking so long with orders in front of me and yet I will experience PATIENCE as I realize there really is no reason for me to be constantly in such a hurry.
One day Girl Scouts will be able to sell cookies out in front of the market and instead of looking the other way, I will respond with KINDNESS and buy as many as I can… just to see a smile on her face because I missed seeing smiles for so long.
One day I will be a spectator at a sporting event and even when the ref makes a terrible call I will react with GOODNESS because I’m just grateful to be in the stands experiencing the delight of being together watching a game.
One day our Core Group will be able to meet in person and I’ll be tempted to cancel because of a busy day and yet I will respond in FAITHFULNESS to the group because we’ve grown so close over these months and it’s just so good to be together with friends.
One day life might get busy again and there could be miscommunication between Nancy and me over what time we needed to be somewhere and yet I will answer with GENTLENESS because I’ve learned relationships are more important than being on time.
One day the 210 freeway will once again be in gridlock at rush-hour and that jerk will cut in front of me and yet I will drive with SELF-CONTROL realizing that life is too precious to get angry at other drivers or people of a different political party or people who look different than I do or people who…
Take some time to look for the fruit God is growing in you through these difficult days. And pray:
O Lord, help me to be different when life goes back to “normal”…