This morning, we took in our first live stream only church service. Our little church has been live streaming for some time now but this week, it wasn’t just church members who couldn’t be there in person, but all of us watching from home. We were reminded to praise God in the middle of this trial, and after the message, our family joined together to answer the global call to prayer from noon to one local time.
After this time of prayer was done, I listened to another live stream from this morning. The pastor talked about hope and optimism in this time, something that many people seem to be short on. He reminded his church, and all those watching, of the following verse:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
This simple reminder is crucial right now. Personally, I have been in a great deal of self-conflict (and unfortunately had some conflict with other members of my family) over the opposing information and viewpoints being presented. We can easily look at statistics and see desperation and hopelessness in this time. So many people are afraid, people are sick and dying and economies are slowing down considerably. We are told to limit our gatherings, stay home, don’t even go outside – such extremes in the actual orders, let alone what social media is screaming. It is easy to get caught up in this and listen to these voices rather than the Holy Spirit.
I believe that what the enemy has meant for evil in this time will be turned to good, but we have a part to play in that. Share things that are true and honest on social media – do some real research before you hit “share” on that frightening post. Read books and watch movies or television that are pure – now is the time to build ourselves up in the Lord, not embrace what the world offers. Look on what is lovely – if it is spring where you are, appreciate that beauty outside your window. Watch your kids learn new ways to be creative in the middle of isolation. Focus on good reports first. The statistics are there every day and depending on who you are and what you are listening to, you will read them differently. Remember that while you might not feel too bad about things, the person reading what you are sharing may be despairing and living without any hope. Ask yourself if it does anyone any good to re-share something that is already circulating and causing fear or distress.
I read a comment on a local post yesterday saying that “it is time to panic.” I could not disagree more, even if this virus was about to infect my entire city. As a believer, I cannot give time to fear. Practicing caution or listening to recommendations and mandates is good but I am watching as people make up their own rules based in fear and then spread those around – much like the virus we’re trying to avoid.
I have seen sad things in the last few weeks and have watched as some people seem to have given up all hope. I have also seen beauty in this time – families coming together in ways they’ve never been able to before and neighbours watching out for each other. The latter is lovely, pure, just, true. Think on these things, brothers and sisters.