Don’t miss the pause … that is the ringing message in my mind and heart in this season of upheaval. In less than a week, much our country has come to a standstill. It has been like watching a slow-motion drama unfolding before our eyes. Perhaps some saw it coming, but I believe very few did. We knew of COVID-19, and we had heard of this “coronavirus thingy” that was like the flu — but maybe worse, but maybe not for young people. Reports started surfacing of infections and cases in our nation, but I don’t think we expected what would happen starting with last Wednesday and into Thursday.
One college conference (the Ivy League) made the decision to shut down their post season basketball tournament. Others were talking of playing in empty buildings and then an NBA player tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA season decided to suspend their season on a Wednesday night less than two weeks ago. Then Major League Soccer, professional baseball, the PGA Tour (even halting the TPC mid tournament), and March Madness followed suit. In 48 hours, most every large event or gathering in the nation was cancelled or postponed. What on earth? Who ever thought this would happen?
We were advised not to gather in groups of more than 500, then 250, then 100, then 50. Now we are advised by our President and the CDC to not gather in groups of more than 10 people, and I do not know if that will change by the time you read this article. The introverts out there have been preparing all of their lives for this moment. Perhaps that is not funny, but we still need to keep a sense of humor in times of great stress.
We have been thrust into a pause — a somewhat fearful, unsettling pause. There are health fears of a deadly new virus, financial fears regarding the economy and loss of income, and general fear of the unknown as we have no idea how long all of this lasts. We must sit and wait and hold our collective breath until we are on the other side.
I have tried to come up with guiding thoughts for me our and team in this season. I hope these thoughts can help you as well. 1. We want to be driven by love and faith in the power of the Holy Spirit through this season — not doubt, fear and panic. We will truly need to lean on God to seek Him in order for this to be the case. Help us Lord. 2. Our emotions are real. It is OK to not be okay in this season. Just be honest about it, and share with others. We are all going to need help from each other. You have permission not be perfect. 3. We can trust God is in control and unchanging. We need to know His character, because He is fully faithful and reliable. 4. We are called to be the church in this season. Church was never meant to be a building we go to on Sunday mornings. God’s people are the church and should live it out. We have that opportunity. Serve your neighbors and friends in the best possible way. 5. Let’s ask ourselves, “How do we want to be remembered on the other side of this?” This is a true hardship, but it will not be the end of the world. We will come out on the other side of this. It may be quicker than we think or it may be slow and painful. When we get there though, what do we want people to say and think of us as the church? I hope we will be remembered as salt and light to this world around us. 6. Don’t waste the pause.
We can use this as a season of growth and discover what the Lord wants to teach us in these moments. We will have to be human beings, and not human “doings.” It is a time to breathe deeply (in fresh air), talk to God, connect and communicate with our family and friends, trust, let go and surrender. I truly believe the Lord is speaking in the midst of all of this. We must slowdown in the pause. We must listen in the pause. We can be changed in the pause. Don’t miss the pause. And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at david@weare community.church or 912-634-2960.