I’m not a germaphobe.

Or an alarmist.

But I don’t handle change or disruption as well as I should. Admittedly, I was annoyed by all of this coronavirus stuff at first, but it wasn’t long before I realized the importance of taking this seriously to protect those who are more vulnerable.

Yesterday I awoke to the news that the school where I work is canceled next week. Our church has called off services on Sunday and all throughout the week. Our youngest son’s baseball practices are on hold. There’s a chance that our oldest will not finish his freshman year of college on campus, but rather here at home on his laptop.

We are in some strange, uncertain times, aren’t we?

I started the day with this unsettled feeling I couldn’t shake. You’d think I’d be excited about spending this past week at home with my boys. I was. You’d think the prospect of getting a bonus spring break would be welcomed. It is. You’d also think that the idea of sleeping in every day for the next 7-8 days would leave me celebrating. Right again.

But.

Yesterday Brian and I went and did our normal Friday grocery shopping. We had toilet paper on the list. I didn’t take any of the toilet paper shortage hype seriously at all until we saw the completely cleared out shelves at Target. We tried three other stores before giving up, thankful we have a few rolls at home and aren’t completely desperate.

Am I really worried about toilet paper? No. We’ll figure that out. What I am concerned about is the state of a community (or nation, really) more concerned with making sure they are way more than covered instead of just buying what they actually need and leaving the rest for others. There is a “me first” mentality running rampant here, and this current crisis our country is facing is proving how serious it is.

No one needs to hoard enough toilet paper to last a year.

But again, it’s not about toilet paper. I’m not worried about toilet paper. Rather, I’m discouraged about what the toilet paper situation represents.

When life feels uncertain, we have an incredible opportunity to show the world why we are here.

For a few months recently our pastor preached a series on the book of Acts, which is all about the first church after Jesus was resurrected. I was completely fascinated by it. Can you imagine how incredible it must have been for those who were able to experience both Jesus in the flesh AND the Holy Spirit after he left? No wonder they were so on fire, so quick to tell everyone all about him, so easily able to band together for the greater good.

 

Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common. With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them. // Acts 4:32-33 //

 

Each and every day they remembered Jesus, and it changed everything.

And here, today, we have an opportunity to do the same.

We can break bread daily with those in our homes. We can check on our neighbors and friends who may need help. We can finally take a break from the manic busyness that is life in the 21st century and just…. stop. Stop the running.

This morning I slept in until after 9:00 and it was glorious. I watched Harry Potter, did some baking, watched Brian and Hunter play catch, and painted our bathroom cabinets. Later, we enjoyed dinner around the table as a family. Talked to Harrison on the phone. Played cards. Then tonight Hudson brought his Nintendo Switch downstairs so the four of us could play Mario Cart on the big TV. It was awesome.

I don’t remember the last time we had a day like that. It seemed long, but in the best way. Tomorrow, we’ll get up and do it all over again. Or something like it. Harrison will join us here for Spring Break, and although it won’t look like we thought it would, we’re going to embrace what it is, knowing there’s a purpose in all of it.

We need days like this to invest in and love our families extra hard. So instead of being frustrated by this forced quarantine, let’s relish in it.

Besides enjoying days like today, there’s a bigger picture here: while we’re waiting this out, how can we be intentional in our community?

When we encounter someone who is fearful, we can tell them why there is nothing to fear. We can pray with them right there and then.

When we notice someone with a need, we can meet it.

When things feel completely out of control, we can remember Who is in control, take a deep breath, and smile.

We can surprise the world with joy.

And when we check the 4th or 5th store for toilet paper but can’t find any,

or our brand of peanut butter is out of stock,

or we miss sports on TV,

or we had to cancel a much-needed vacation and just want things to be normal again,

let’s pause for a second and remember.

Remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us. And when that sinks in, none of this stuff we’re sacrificing will matter much anymore.

This is our opportunity, friends. We can’t miss it. And maybe, just maybe, when this is all over we’ll be different. Maybe life will continue to move at a little slower pace. Maybe all of this is a big enough deal to bring about real, lasting change.

Maybe this is exactly what we needed to light the fire that will continue to push us towards compassion for this hurting world.

We’ve got this, friends. And God has us. It’s time to shine.