As more and more people receive vaccinations against COVID-19, people are starting to sense that the end of the pandemic is in sight. I hope that’s true! And it prompts me to ask a question: What have we learned from all this?
I’m sure the answer to that question would be a list as long as my arm, but I want to focus on the spiritual end of it. Perhaps I might frame the question this way:
How has my walk with God been affected by the pandemic, and what have I learned as a result?
The answer to that, too, can and perhaps is long and complicated. But let me focus on one particular area: rest.
For the last number of years, “busy” is a badge that people have worn with honour. And there has been a cost involved.
Early in the pandemic, when everything was shut down and (let’s face it) many people lived in fear, there was a sense of equilibrium returning to nature: the air got cleaner, the dolphins returned to the canals of Venice, the traffic was manageable.
People were slowing down.
But as the first wave ebbed, and a limited reopening took place, we seemed to forget the serenity and peace that came with that first shutdown. The pace picked up. While people worked from home, the boundaries were blurred.
Where I live in Ontario, the economy begins reopening today. Stores will be open with a limited capacity. Outdoor patios will be open, within limits. And our church will be open to 15% capacity! It’s a start!
But before we try to “get back to normal” – whatever that’s going to look like – let me encourage you to take a step back and look at what you’ve learned about your spiritual rhythms from the experience of the pandemic. Spend some time in conversation with the Lord over that in the coming days.
Then – and this is the difficult part – apply what you’ve learned to the “new normal.”
“So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:
‘Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts’” (Hebrews 4.6-7, NLT).