“Look, Mom,” my five-year-old daughter held a toy in front of her face, “if I look at my toy close up, it looks big and I can’t see the TV behind it. But when I move it away from my eye, it gets small and I can see more of the TV.”
My daughter learned a simple but important truth that day. And I have taken it to heart during this long-lasting social distancing mandate: when you look at something closely, it’s hard to focus on anything else.
The world is a crazy place right now. Uncertainty surrounding health, the economy, racial and social injustices, and international relations have struck fear into our hearts.
If you are a Christian, you know that, ultimately, God is in charge and there is nothing to fear. And yet…I hear from many of my Christian friends that their anxiety is out of control, even crippling. How do you keep your focus on Jesus and even strengthen your faith when these trending topics seem like such a big and scary threat?
The Bible provides us with the tools to combat every trial and mountain we face, and this pandemic is no different. The Lord’s voice is active, and His presence is alive in the Word. Hear the comforting words and actionable steps He shares with us right in Scripture:
Spend Time With God. Let Him Be Your Focus.
Read your Bible, pray, listen to Christian podcasts and music. When His truth fills your line of vision, you realize how big He is and how small the virus looks comparatively. If reading the news, scrolling through Facebook, or chatting with family about the pandemic causes you anxiety…stop doing it! Your family will understand. Limit your exposure to anything that brings fear to your heart.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Take Time To Rest. Lower Your Expectations For Yourself.
What better time than now to rest, reflect, and enjoy this time of unique separation from the world. Rest is biblical; even God rested! You may find a new hobby or rediscover an old talent you used to enjoy. Get outside. Explore that next-door neighborhood you’ve never walked through before! Use your down time to surrender your expectations to God and watch Him work.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Prioritize Relationships. Check In On Your Loved Ones.
Social isolation has a number of damaging effects of its own, so make sure you have daily contact with someone outside your home. Even though we can’t assemble the way we used to, we can still meet online to encourage others. You may be someone else’s lifeline. This is definitely a time when technology can work in our favor!
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Serve Others. Is Anyone In Your Community In Need?
How can you help meet those needs while respecting social distancing orders? Our little town in Montana rallied together to help serve lunch to the needy and pulled together a group of drivers that will deliver groceries to those who are unable to get to the store. Look for a need in your community and find a way to serve.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
I realize that many of us have lost income (myself included), but I believe that now is a time for Christians to put our faith into practice and give generously. Do you trust God with the outcome or not? Whether you choose to make a donation to your local food bank or even sponsor a child in a developing country, for whom poverty and uncertainty are a daily reality, you can use your current discomfort to bring relief to someone else.
“The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” (Proverbs 11:25)
“He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9)
When all of this craziness is over, take time to make a memorial. Write in a journal or on stones, then display them in your home. Remind yourself and your family of God’s faithfulness during this crisis. He will lead you and teach you during this time; don’t let those lessons go to waste. Add them to your toolbox for the future.
Use this time to focus on Jesus and spread the truth of His words:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Learn to understand and know that Jesus bigger than our momentary concerns, no matter how big they seem at the time. Learning to trust this would be time well spent, don’t you think?