Core scripture: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Message: Dear Coronavirus,
It has been on my heart to write you for some time. I will admit, when I first heard about you, I was skeptical of your power. I thought others were blowing things out of proportion. Boy, was I wrong. Not only have you quarantined my entire area, shifting us to online schooling for the remainder of the year, but you have also begun to take over the anxiety of the world.
Bravo, Coronavirus. Bravo (insert slow clap).
I will humbly admit that you do frustrate me some. I never even had the chance to say goodbye to my students—something I have enjoyed taking multiple days for in the past during the last week of school. No worries. I will find a way to pay tribute to my students nonetheless. I might have to get creative, but I will still write every child a note, and I will still give out my end of the year awards online.
Ah, yes, online learning … I wanted to thank you for that, Coronavirus. Me? I am somewhat inept with technology, yet you forced me to get readily acquainted with Zoom, and I look forward to Zooming with all my students this week after practicing with it. That’s right, you failed to eliminate my 6th grade boys small group AND my Friday morning Bible study, not to mention my Covenant Group, as I used Zoom to communicate online with each.
You know, I started thinking, you are going to make me a better teacher. You, Mr. Coronavirus, are giving me ideas about how to communicate more effectively with absent students, colleagues, friends, you name it! I could even use Zoom to connect my Mom, Dad, and two brothers, along with their families, to have a mini family reunion. This never would have happened without you interrupting our lives, so thank you.
And as for the whole quarantine thing, although cabin fever is setting in, you are giving me extra time to do plenty of cleaning, family bonding, and of course quiet time with the Lord. I normally blog on Tuesday morning, and here I am writing early on Sunday? Are you kidding me? I am reading more, we are doing a family movie a day, and our family walks have been nice as well as spring is settling in.
Do you know what I saw on my walk earlier this week? I saw a father bumping, setting, and spiking volleyballs with his high school daughter. I saw a brother and sister kicking a soccer ball back and forth. I saw two friends that lived two houses apart chucking a football over a driveway, basking in the warmth of a gorgeous spring day. Families were taking their dogs for walks, we were getting exercise, and none of this would have happened without you.
Without you, I would have been stuck in school teaching, looking outside and wishing I was enjoying the weather. Without you, I would have never discovered “Tiger King” on Netflix, bonding and laughing with my wife. Without you, I would not have had the time to help my son practice his jump shot on the driveway. Without you, I would not have had the time to write a song parody about our foster dogs, attempting to get them adopted. I tip my hat to you, Coronavirus.
By the way, do you mind if I just call you Rona? Coronavirus is just such a long word to say. I nickname my students all the time. Why not you, too? Thanks, Rona. You know, one thing I thanked you for earlier that I want to expand on is my newfound time to study the Bible. You gave me time to meditate on James 1:2-4, one of my all-time favorite Bible verses:
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Did you catch that, Rona? You are providing joy. Yes, the rest of the world may think differently, but Christians are quite the anomaly. They see you as an opportunity to suffer with Christ, but here’s the thing … we are not actually suffering. We are soaking in joy and love! We are being challenged to keep our patience. And down the road when we encounter another trial like you, we will be able to say Hey, this is nothing! We survived the quarantine of 2020!
I could go on, but I will stop here and just end with some final thanks. Thank you for slowing our busy lives down. Thank you for eliminating some areas of our lives that may have become idols, keeping us away from them. Thank you for getting us wiser on how to handle future pandemics like you, Rona. Most of all, thank you for growing me closer to my God, the Ultimate Healer who will eventually eliminate you, crushing you to nothing.
Indian Trail Middle School
Challenge: Focus your heart on the numerous positive aspects of what the quarantine is allowing you to do. Flourish in those areas! Praise God for the numerous things that the Coronavirus is allowing you to do that you did not get the chance to do in normality.
Just for fun: Yowza! I had my choice of a plethora of creative geniuses who created Coronavirus song parodies. This one, made after Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” is sure to get a smile.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your eternal positive perspective that you are giving us as we focus our hearts on Your many blessings during the quarantine. Help us stay optimistic, and keep us from complaining. Amen.
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