A life-changing lock-down?

Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020

The vast majority of us will have never experienced anything like this. As the Coronavirus continues to spread, lots of us will be full of fear for our own safety and for the safety of our loved ones. And now, as the country has gone into lock-down, we may be feeling anxious at the loss of freedom as well as the isolation we now face for the coming weeks. But what if we made the best out of this uncertain situation we find ourselves in? What if we were look back on this in years to come as a time that transformed our lives for the better? What if we came through this (and we will come through this!) full of the hope, joy and peace that comes from Jesus Christ? That is my prayer for all of us!

For lots of us, prayer can often be something of a last resort. ‘I’ve tried to fix it but nothing seems to be working. Oh I know, I could pray about it!’ We often tend to want to find a solution, rather than coming to the almighty God and asking for him to help. At the moment, lots of us will have more free time than we are used to (I understand this is not the case for everyone and many are still very busy) and ALL of us will be spending more time at home than we are used to. What if we used the time we have to pray for an extra half hour? If instead of switching on the TV to watch one more episode of Friends, you went into your room, closed the door and prayed to your Father (Matthew 6:6). Perhaps sit down and pray with your family or those you live with. We can often take for granted the stunning privilege we have of being invited into conversation with the God who made the entire universe. And although we may not always receive the answer to prayer that we hope for, prayer is never ever a waste of time! What if prayer became our first thought rather than a last resort?

Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that He will provide the help we need.

John Piper

Another awesome gift that that we often fail to prioritise is the Bible. We have the word of God in our hands – what if we used this time of lockdown to spend more time reading it? If we took time to let the words sink in, to reflect on them and allow ourselves to be transformed by them. Perhaps you already read the Bible a lot, perhaps your Bible has been sat on the bookshelf gathering dust. Whatever relationship you have with God’s word, we could all certainly be reading it more. Let us use this time to allow the living word of God shape us and change us each day.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work

2 Timothy 3:16-17

And why not take this time to try something new? If you’re not much of a reader, get yourself a book. Learn to cook or perhaps teach yourself a different language. We will perhaps never again be in a position where we have as much free time and are spending as much time in our own homes. We could use that time to learn and to grow in gifts, talents and skills. Go out for a walk or run and enjoy God’s beautiful creation. And use technology and social media for all its benefits, chat to friends and family on the phone, play a game against them over the internet – stay connected!

Of course I’m not at all ignoring the fact that this will be a terribly sad and difficult time. It is indeed a time of suffering and isolation like none of us will have ever experienced. But we have a God who is with us in our suffering; a God who stepped down into the earth in the person of Jesus and experienced incomprehensible suffering and isolation. He knows exactly how we feel and he is with us through it all. And he is able to bring light and life even into the darkest of times.

Perhaps you don’t yet know Jesus. Why not read one of the first 4 books of the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Read about this man Jesus; the amazing things he did, the amazing things he taught and the incredible price he paid when he died on the cross. This Jesus has the power to transform your life here and now, in a national lockdown in 2020! You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain! My prayer for all of us is that this will be a time where we fix our eyes on Jesus, where we have frequent thoughts of him and where we are filled with the hope and joy that comes from a relationship with him. That we will reach the other side of the Coronavirus full of thanksgiving for all the blessings that God brought through it!

When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.

Psalm 94:19

Written by Charlie Baines, Youth and Children’s Worker at Kennet Valley Free Church

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Kennet Valley Free Church, Carters Rise, Fords Farm, Calcot, Reading RG31 7YT - (0118) 942 1591. Registered Charity No. 1174002