No, I'm not talking about the first and second death hauntingly written of in Revelation 20:6
There is an earlier death going on right now, both in the Church and out of it. That is the inner death of courage, tenacity, endurance, and the overcoming spirit.
The effect of a lengthy COVID-19 lockdown is the wearing down of inner strength. Many Christians and others are suffering from this right now and don't know how long they can last without being mentally, spiritually and emotionally damaged. Issues and arguments arise within families, segregation has already begun in our workplaces and discrimination in our shops. If we're not careful, we can get caught up in all that.
The nation's vaccinated are accusing the unvaccinated of being virus spreaders, while the unvaccinated accuse the vaccinated of being the carriers of a timebomb disease. All this wears out the love for each other that God put in us, and breaks us down internally. It inserts division in our hearts initially held sacred by God. One concerning aspect of this is the fading belief that it will eventually be over, and our shattered communities will rejoin as they were. Maybe they will, but what if they don't? Where then will your love for others be? Where will your own trust in God be? Vibrant or worn out?
What can I do?
Before we do anything to offset the fallout, we need to understand what God wants from us and how we can best use this time for spiritual growth. It doesn't need to be a time of loss. It can be one of redeeming the time.
God needs trees that bend in the force of the wind but do not break. The mark of a strong tree is whether it can stand when it is alone in the storm, not protected by the company of other trees. We've all seen the uprooted palm trees in hurricanes, while other species remain firm. Many times in life, we get opportunities to stand against the storms. Which tree do you want to be? Which one are you now?
We can go through these times of solitude blaming others or governments, or we can use them to grow faith and trust in God. There is no better training camp to challenge our confidence and belief than prolonged aloneness.
In the end, we all need the strength to stand alone. Often during troubled times, nobody but the Holy Spirit is there to help us through. In those events, He has to be enough. If He is not enough, we will fall whenever we find ourselves in life's storms, which happen often. Have you've already experienced this?
There is no doubt it is hard to battle through the lockdown. But there is grit, a toughness, built deep within our DNA that says we can. It enables us to challenge our weaknesses and overcome perceived deficiencies. Lockdown is the perfect time to bring the grit to the surface. Not to simply limp through the lockdown, but charge through like a warrior.
Gideon's 300 could all stand alone. The others couldn't. They were palm trees and would have been uprooted in battle. So let's use this time as wisely as possible for our Saviour, to grow and become stronger, more loving and more useful for our Kingdom walk. We can and must do it.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, you have led me through the lockdowns to date. Would you please strengthen me to make my time far more productive? I don't want to be uprooted in life's stormier times like a palm tree, but deep-rooted, so despite being involved in storms, my faith remains unshakeable and my output dynamic and effective.
Photo by JD Designs