These are troublesome times. COVID-19 rages on, with no end in sight. Parents are having to make difficult decisions about school and caring for kids at home this fall. College students are facing the reality that they may not return to campus for the foreseeable future. Many of us have not been able to gather for in-person corporate worship in months. There are also significant national conversations taking place about important and challenging topics. This does not even take into account the everyday trials and tribulations each of us face.
How do we navigate times like these? How do we not bury our head in the sand, nor spiral into anxiety or despair? Below are three important things to do on a daily basis. I believe taking these steps each day can reorient our hearts to what is also true in the midst of so many challenges and unknowns.
- Stay close to God. We are invited to routinely approach the throne of grace with confidence in order to receive mercy and grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:15-16). And we are certainly in a time of need. Moreover, we are invited to come to Jesus with our burdens and heavy loads that we will find true rest for our souls (Matt. 11:28-30).
- Stay close to others. This has been one of the biggest challenges of the past few months. But we are encouraged to exhort one another daily, in order that we would walk faithfully with God (Heb. 3:13). We are also encouraged to speak truth in love to one another so that we continue to grow in Christian maturity (Eph. 4:15-16). And we are to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). It will take creativity, but staying in vital community with one another remains a core tenet of the Christian life. Perhaps it is a routine phone call, or an appropriately socially-distanced (and masked?) visit with a friend. Who can you reach out to this week, sharing and praying together?
- Remember what is true about God’s Kingdom. There are a lot of uncertainties around us right now. It can feel overwhelming. But God reminds us of what is also true. Here are some of the things we know to be true:
- He is a very present help to his people in times of trouble (Psa. 46:1)
- All things have been subjected to Jesus Christ, and nothing is outside his control (Heb. 2:8)
- Our current afflictions (though painful) are not permanent (2 Cor. 4:17-18)
- Our King still sits enthroned (Psa. 29:10)
- One day, someday, Christ will return and will make everything permanently new and good (Rev. 21-22).
While much “under the sun” seems futile, we are instructed in how to live: trust in the Lord and keep his commandments (Eccl. 12:13)
This list is not exhaustive. But I hope you will find it practical and helpful as you continue to navigate these very troubling times. And may God equip us with everything we need to live faithfully, according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.