It’s been less than a week since the effects of the new coronavirus started to become a reality for many of us. Every activity and gathering suddenly ground to a complete stop as if someone had thrown the emergency brake and we are, understandably, still reeling from the whiplash. Our normal just came crashing down around us and we are left to pick up the pieces and use them to create something entirely new.
There are no playbooks for these times, no detailed instructions or steps to follow. In these times of uncertainty, there are many things we don’t know and can’t even guess. But, there are many things we do know and now is the time to cling to those. Romans 8 is full of those truths.
Verse 15 tells us that God is our Father and we have no need to fear – “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”
Verse 26 tells us that when we can’t even organize our thoughts enough to pray, the Holy Spirit prays to the Father for us – “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Verse 35 tells us there is nothing, not even a global pandemic, that can separate us from the love of God in Christ – “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”
Verse 28 tells us that God loves us and is actively working for our good – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
For your family, clinging to these truths might look like turning off the news and social media. Every news outlet and 99% of every conversation is all coronavirus all the time, so if you’re feeling anxious, try limiting these to once a day. Your life right now might look like setting a basic schedule for yourselves with times of quiet and separation for the various members of your household, or it might look like letting everyone rest from schedules. It might look like setting new behavior expectations to accommodate conference calls or setting up new workstations or setting a timer to help people focus. Most importantly, it should look like pointing yourself and your family to scripture. As Romans 15:4 reads, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
What it doesn’t have to be right now is perfect. You won’t become a quarantine superhero overnight, and that’s okay. Your house may be messy, your kids may fight or scream during conference calls, everyone might be spending too much time in front of screens, and you may feel like you work all day and yet nothing is getting done. Let me say it again, that’s okay. We all need grace and support while the shock is wearing off. This will probably be our new normal for a while and we’ve got plenty of time together to figure it out.