Cover photo via Vatican Media
This post originally appeared on Instagram from @theandrewarndt
Was Sunday, March 15, 2020 Strange for You, Too?
On Sunday, I saw a picture of the Pope looking out on St. Peters Square, where the worshipers gather, and it was empty. And I thought, that’s happening all over the world. What a strange Sunday. And then the CDC announced that gatherings of more than 50 people should be limited for the next eight weeks [Update: Since then the CDC recommends restricting gatherings of more than ten people.] It looks like we’re in for a bit of a ride. So I want to offer some encouragement.
I was reading Psalm 40 this morning.
I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined to me and he heard my cry. He rescued me from the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on a rock and he gave me a firm place to stand.
It’s a Psalm of crying out to God and God delivering. And then he has this great line where he says, “the things that you planned for us, no one can recount to you, even fully.” I love that line – “the things that you plan for us”. It made me think that in the midst of difficult things, there is always grace tucked in. There is always goodness.
In the midst of difficult things, there is always grace tucked in. There is always goodness. @theandrewarndt #covid19 #allflame Click To Tweet
I don’t think for a second that this Coronavirus is from God.
I don’t believe that. But I also believe that God is so wise and so strong and so nimble that he climbs inside of crisis and he plans good things for us. He uses crisis to overthrow crisis. That’s just the signature of his way and his work. I think the Lord is going to do a lot of good things through this. We don’t know all of the outcomes. But we know that he’s working for the good of those who love him, and even those who don’t know him. He’s working goodness on their behalf, in large part, through the church.
I don't think the Coronavirus is from God. I believe that God, who is wise, strong, and nimble, climbs inside of crisis and plans good things for us. He's working for the good of those who love him, and also those who don't know him, in… Click To Tweet
Four DO’s and One DON’T to Access the Grace of God During COVID-19
DO seize this as an opportunity to pray.
Some of you–your prayer life is irregular. Some of the alarm in your heart is pushing YOU into prayer, and that’s a good thing. Seize the opportunity with a bit of a slower schedule to pray. We can pray out of our fear and we can put our fear into the presence of God, which is valid. But don’t pray toward fear. Center yourself in a Psalm of confidence in God. Light a candle and get comfortable. Cast all of your care on him because he cares for you. So let’s pray. Let’s excel in prayer in this season.
DO engage in healthy rhythms and habits.
I was out on a run because I run. I’m going to keep reading, studying, praying, running and sitting down for good meals with my family. Keep the rhythm up when there is chaos all around. One of the ways we can push back on the chaos is to maintain order in OUR LIVES.
DO seize the opportunity to engage in relationship.
For a lot of you, your kids are home from school now for the foreseeable future. Don’t get frustrated. Be happy about it. Watch extra movies with them. Go on long walks. Enjoy leisurely conversations and being with one another. [Editor’s note: during this part of Andrew’s talk, he was interrupted twice by his kids. Watch it on Instagram. It’s cute.]
DO reach out to your neighbors, especially those who may be in a vulnerable situation–the elderly, those who are not fully capable of caring for themselves, the sick.
[This section has been updated as the COVID-19 social protocol continues to evolve.]
Make sure you’re finding creative ways to be together, making yourself available to those around you, on your block and those in your church and life. Reach out and call or email personal notes. Message people with encouraging words. Hop on a video call and pray together. You could even sing together. If you are healthy and keeping social distance from people, offer to help those who need it, who don’t have family or anyone close, to drop off groceries or help with something in their home. It may be awkward but talk about how to best honor each other. Be inventive about how you can bring hope and healing, especially to those who are alone.
DON’T be foolish in this season.
Don’t go to the store and hoard stuff. Ecclesiastes says that the man or woman who fears God will avoid all extremes. Don’t watch too much TV. For the love of all that’s holy, stay off OR LIMIT YOUR TIME ON social media. If you have to be on social media, don’t put fear or misinformation out there. Don’t use this opportunity to politicize. Don’t do any of the stupid stuff. Don’t eat or drink too much.
Get good sleep, maintain healthy rhythms, pray a lot. Have your eyes open for opportunities that the Lord sends YOU to do good to all, and maintain your confidence in the Lord.
May the blessing of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit rest upon you.
Andrew will release All Flame: Entering into the Life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in October 2020. You can visit Andrew’s blog at andrewarndt.com.