Nobody could predict exactly how the COVID-19 lockdown would affect them. For many, it woke us up to thankful for what was a gift from God for a season – and for what he continues to bless us with (Job 1:21). While we’re in the middle of discouraging times the best we can do is is grab a hold to the promises of God and give a quiet plea for help. Those promises are found only in the man of His choosing, in whom all the promises of God are made manifest (2 Corinthians 1:20). In this way, it’s no different from how we are to live on any ordinary day of our lives.
It’s true that God loves his people, and true that He is shapes them to be shaped like his true Son through their every pressing moment like a master potter (Romans 8:28-29). It also rings true that caught in the storm without apparent shelter it’s hard to see how the Lord can mean our moments for our good through the downpour. It’s in times like these, to muster strength for the day, that we need to be encouraged by the word of Christ in a brother, which one author described as stronger than the Christ that dwells in our own hearts – which are uncertain. We need to hear words that beckon hope again and to fix our eyes on the victorious king who is uniting all things in creation to himself toward resolution (Ephesians 1:10). Which also means this time is difficult as we experience greater physical separation from fellow believers.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! (Psalm 133:1-2)
And yet to many of us it has become clear that there is much good going on. No doubt, you, like me, have heard of or experienced a strengthening of family bonds. These ties run deep and I believe that the children will remember fondly the length of time spent investing in love to one another as alternatives dissipate under the weight of restrictions and a faltering economy outside the four walls of the home. We can’t pay enough to purchase these shaping moments.
Perhaps your family is going through a crucible in this time – a trial by fire that is burning away longstanding imperfections. This though painful is for your good too. Perhaps this is a time that your family has had to wade through a red sea of conflict – pressed by enemies and restrictions on each side. Press onward in faith, trusting that God is bringing a resolution to conflict not through avoidance and a false peace – but through hearts bare, contrite admission of guilt, broken-hearted repentance, and sweet forgiveness. It’s the messiest beauty in the world when the Lord brings grace out of sin and paints something new and wonderful by the stroke of his brush – but it’s the story of this world and our lives. Relationships are built on grace and the loving persistent action that flows from it. The Lord is doing a marvelous thing if you would hear it, see it, taste it, and walk where he would call you to go as you receive his counsel. Father give us the eyes to see it!
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:14-16)