Thursday, March 26, 2020

Coronavirus and Opportunities

Many people are scared of getting sick with the coronavirus. Others are afraid of dying or losing loved ones to it. Some are using the uncertainty to behave in  ways they would not normally behave. Even without knowing all of the details that need to be considered into the decision making, many people think their ideas are better than what is being done and are quite forceful and downright ugly with their opinions. 

Others are trying to find the good in the situations now thrust upon us by counting their blessings. Countless others are doing more than their share to help out wherever they can. Everyone is socially distanced physically but united electronically. People are looking out for each other more than normal. New ways of doing things are being tried from online ordering to grocery and meal delivery services to video chats.

A friend reported he witnessed two ladies arguing over the last pack of hamburger in a store. They weren't arguing to keep it for themselves, but they were making a case for why the other lady needed it more. As my friend, and brother in Christ, Keith says, "That's the 'good stuff!'"

My heart was blessed when a newly found cousin, Tom, reached out and asked how we were doing. He wanted to see if we had all we needed. Our relationship is brand new, and we know so little about each other. It touched my heart because we were present in his thoughts. He took action to let us know he cares. Love does not hide well. It makes itself known one way or another.

People's negative behavior gives us opportunities too. We can pray for them, of course. We can also be patient and compassionate realizing fear is motivating them. We can be a calming influence, look for opportunities to share God's love story, and find practical ways to minister to their troubled souls. From personal experience with a grumpy, pain in the butt, old guy, it may seem like you are not making any inroads, but years later, they may tell you how something you said or did blessed them.

We learn more about ourselves during trying times. Weaknesses will be brought out which gives us an opportunity to repent and grow in Christ. We may also learn about hidden strength within ourselves. A certain topic of Bible study we had overlooked before may become very relevant. Troubling times bring opportunity to work on our inner person so we can expand our ministry and shine more for Christ. 

We have a great opportunity right now to minister to our shut in community of special needs children, elderly, and disabled people. I have seen many of them very afraid and depressed lately. They certainly can use a friendly word and encouragement through a window, the phone, or a computer. Snail mail is most welcomed too. They may need groceries or prepared frozen meals. Neighbors who have special needs or are cancer patients need sanitation items and groceries dropped off on a porch. Elderly friends are so afraid to go out right now, so they need help getting prescriptions filled. Some people have lunch meat, but they can't find bread. So, a home baked loaf is much appreciated from those who have the skill. People who have CPAP machines need distilled water which is hard to find. There are suddenly so many wonderful opportunities to serve our Risen Savior!

Being in the large family community, I know many of our large family friends are struggling to buy what they need each week due to the limitations.* Adding a few things to your grocery order that you won't use could be helpful to those families. Nurses are asking people to sew masks for them. People on special diets are having a hard time locating specialty items like gluten free breads. The list of needs goes on and on. For the ministry minded Christian, there is an endless list of how we can serve others. 

Dear Reader, How will you look back on your actions during this pivotal moment in history? Will you remember it as a time you complained loudly, allowed moods to dictate your behavior, and, motivated by fear and self preservation, hoarded items? Or, will you remember it as a time you served the Most High by being generous with others? Were you looking out for yourself or were you His servant? When hard times come, so much is revealed about our hidden person. Hard times can also be a training ground to experience personal growth and develop godly character. I am praying that you clearly hear God's will for you during this time and respond quickly to whatever He puts on your heart. Will you pray the same for me and my family? We are sincere in our desire to glorify the Lord, and we hope you are too. 

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 
Hebrews 6:10

The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. 
Habakkuk 3:19

*Because we have been through a few natural disasters and live in hurricane country, my family stays prepared and has all we need. If you need something, please let us know. We don't have a lot, but we can spare a roll of TP, a few eggs, or a bowl of chili.