A Time of “Forced Leisure”
In a recent devotional reading from Streams in the Desert, I read about Jesus’ “withdrawing to a solitary place” (Matthew 14.13) and the importance of boundaries. The author offered these words:
“There is no music during a musical rest, but the rest is part of the making of the music. In the melody of life, the music is separated here and there by rests. During those rests, we foolishly believe we have come to the end of the song. God sends us times of forced leisure by allowing sickness, disappointed plans, and frustrated efforts. He brings a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives. and we lament that our voices must be silent.”
The author concludes in this way, “God does not write the music of our lives without a plan. Our part is to learn the tune and not be discouraged during the rests.”
The calendar shows that it’s 2021, yet that doesn’t mean that the pandemic has suddenly disappeared. Schools, businesses, families, and yes, churches, are seeking ways to deal with this unpleasant reality. When it comes to the COVID-19 virus, our nation is not of one mind in how to deal with it.
Many of us (including myself) are wrestling with COVID fatigue. This is a new phrase for the moment—meaning essentially that we are tired of social distancing, canceled or modified activities, and ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. In short, we want this to be over!
Unfortunately, it’s not over. We are going to have to deal with virus and its effects for months yet to come. Like you, I am eager and hopeful for a vaccine. Until that time, it’s imperative that we slow down rather than try to force through this unpleasant season.
Even though this may be an uncomfortable time, it is also the only time we have to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. I believe the Lord has purpose in this situation and if we are sensitive to it then it can be a source of growth for us. Remember this: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of various kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1.2).
We are in a period of “forced leisure” right now. Let’s be patient with each other and may graciousness abound.
I appreciate your faithfulness in your prayers and financial support; I also am grateful for those who have been able to attend in person worship during these days. If you are unable, unsure, or sick, please continue to participate online–DC