Nine Lessons (so far) from a Pandemic*

1. Life can change in a flash. For all of our advances in sciences and medicines, a little bug named Covid-19 has smacked us. In January, practically every pastor in America, not-so-originally (present writer included) preached on our future and having 20/20 vision in 2020. We thought we were so clever, but none of us foresaw what was lying just ahead. It’s a good lesson that we can (and should) plan for the future, but our plans don’t have the final say. Solomon figured that out 3000 years ago: Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)

2. Patience. We’ve all heard some version of this advice, “Don’t pray for patience or the Lord will send something troubling your way to teach it.” Well, somewhere in this old world, someone must have prayed extra hard for patience, because we are learning it—like it or not. My personality wasn’t built for pandemics. I need to be on the go and doing something, always doing something. Maybe the Lord is teaching me, “Not so fast. Slow down. Take a breath. Relax.”

3. Loneliness. One of the worst byproducts of a stay-at-home mandate is loneliness. God forbid, a loved one gets sick and needs hospitalization—when they need the comfort, strength and assurance from their loved ones the most—they can’t be around. We are wired to be connected with one another. Humans need face to face interaction. God in the garden said it best, “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18).

4. Heroes. I am not sure if I will look at health care workers, grocery shelf stockers, garbage men, and all the other essential workers the same. I hope not.

5. God’s people find ways to serve. I love that our women’s ministries set up meal trains for healthcare workers and first responders. I love that our seniors are making masks that are hand delivered for free. I love that folks are checking up on our most vulnerable congregants and offering to grocery shop, run errands or do a few chores. Our pastors are knocking it out of the park in their service to the Lord– connecting with children, students and adults. God’s people will serve—pandemic or no pandemic. When folks live out Ephesians 6:7 (Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people), it’s a beautiful thing. But speaking of “hitting it out of the park” …

6. The shocking truth about sports. I’ve realized how much of my time was occupied by watching games and talking about sports. Sports are a black hole. The time spent occupied and consumed by sports cannot be regained. Now c’mon, let me be honest and realistic (who’s kidding who?) when sports resume I will still be interested, but I hope to be more time conscious than I was pre-pandemic. No one will be asked upon entry into heaven about the Wolverines and Buckeye rivalry (Can a Buckeye go to heaven? Sorry I couldn’t resist. It was a low hanging fruit). Sports are fun, but they also suck precious time from the more important things of life.

7. Mute All Button. I wish every social media platform had Zoom’s “Mute All” or at least a “Mute Some” button. Someone talking to much political blather. Mute. Someone attacking, bragging, grumbling or gossiping. Mute. Mute. Mute. Mute.

8. Let the experts be the experts. During a World-Wide Pandemic, I want to hear from level headed, realistic medical experts and scientists on when is the right time to reopen life again. I don’t want to hear from red or blue politicians or various media outlets, who (I know this is “breaking news” to us all) have a hidden (and sometimes not-so-hidden) agenda.

9. Trust in the Lord. Most of us knew this before the pandemic, but maybe the pandemic has made us relearn it or learn it more and better and deeper. God hasn’t left us—there is not a chance of that. So, let’s just trust Him to see us through these crazy days!

*I am certain I will learn more as the pandemic is prolonged. Ask me in a month and my list probably will have grown.

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