As I write this article in the midst of a viral pandemic that has turned our world upside down, we are now starting to see signs of life getting back to “normal.” Stores are opening back up (with limited capacity). Restaurants are opening back up (with limited seating). Even church building doors are opening back up (with limited assemblies). OK, “normal” might not be the best word to use, but we are making progress, and for that, we should be thankful.
We should also be thankful for what we have experienced these past many weeks and for the lessons we have been taught as the result. Thankful for the experiences? Thankful for the lessons? I fear I may have just lost some of you, so let me try to explain.
Due to Covid-19, how many of us were forced to take a break from the hustle and bustle of our world? Did you end up getting things done around the house that you had not found the time to do previously? Did you end up spending more time with your friends, neighbors, and loved ones than you would have done before?
Due to Covid-19, how many of us were laid off from our jobs or had to work reduced hours? Did you learn to be a better steward of your money and live more practically within your means? Did you learn the difference between wants and needs and how to stretch your dollar to meet those needs?
Due to Covid-19, how many of us were suddenly unable to enjoy the convenience of eating out at our favorite restaurants? Did you learn to use what has been stored for years in your cupboard and prepare more food at home? Did you find the opportunity to sit around the dinner table with your family, share a meal, and talk to them about their days?
Due to Covid-19, how many of us were suddenly unable to shake hands or give a hug to another human being due to social distancing? Did you start to value the other people in your life whom you might have once taken for granted? Did you start to long for the day when you could once again share your joys and sorrows with another through the love and affection of a touch or physical embrace?
Although James 1:2-4 teaches a spiritual lesson, it certainly has great application to the subject at hand. It reads, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” In other words, bad times do not always have to be bad. They can also be good! Whether the problems are spiritual or physical, struggles can make us stronger if we understand what we have to gain from them.
Yes, we have experienced a lot in the last couple of months. Yes, it has been everything from inconvenient to terrible at times. Yes, we are all looking forward to things getting back to “normal” or the “new normal” soon. However, do not forget that these recent experiences, as difficult as they may have been, can teach us some valuable lessons. If we will take note of them and learn from them, then we can be thankful that these trials and tribulations have only served to provide the perfect opportunities to help make each of us just a little bit better in the end.
Take time to “assemble” with us online! Sunday morning worship begins at 10:00 a.m. (E.S.T.) and Wednesday night Bible study begins at 7:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRX8fs9RZ-On52Upt2U4tAw) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sebringparkwaychurchofchrist/).