Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – Psalm 107:28-31
When you’re in the middle of a storm, it’s hard to imagine that it could ever end. When the thunder is crashing and the lightning is flashing, we start to think the storm is there to stay. We see the storm as all-consuming and frightening. Logically, we know that at some point, the sun will peek from behind the dark clouds, the air will clear, and the water will dry up. But convincing our emotions and fears to listen to logic is often a losing battle.
When we’re parenting prodigals, nervously eyeing our dwindling bank accounts, taking care of aging parents, or going through a health battle—the storm can seem never-ending.
COVID-19 pandemic has felt the same. Worry, anxiety, and concern abound over all the what-if’s and unknowns. I don’t know about you but I have struggled with the illogical questions of “what if this never ends? What if we’re stuck in our houses forever?” But, like every storm, COVID 19 pandemic will eventually pass. There might be lingering damage in its wake, but the waters will recede. Our country’s “new normal” might look a little different than it did before the pandemic, but there will be a new normal. Life will resume.
The question becomes—
- Will we be ready?
- Will we forget the lessons learned during this pandemic?
- Will we go right back to complaining about the heat of the sun and forget about the torrents of rain that just ended?
- Or will we have a heart that’s permanently grateful, focused on thanksgiving, and ever counting your blessings?
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
HERE ARE 10 THINGS TO STOP TAKING FOR GRANTED AFTER THE PANDEMIC.
The Bible is clear in its command to meet with other believers on a regular basis.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” – Hebrews 10:23-25 (ESV).
The church needs each other. Many churches were able to meet via online sessions during the pandemic, while others had drive-up services where each family stayed in their car. While the church itself isn’t a brick-and-mortar building, there’s something very beneficial in meeting together, in person, in a building on a weekly basis. When the pandemic is over, let us be sure not to take for granted the blessing of fellowshipping together in church.
- THE LORD’S PRESENCE
When people are going through hard times, the presence of the Lord is stronger than ever in their lives. Typically, this is due to the pressing need and lack of distractions. When we truly feel our need for the Lord, idols fade to the background. Our need for Christ is the same every day, but in times of trial, it weighs heavier on the heart.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18 (ESV)
After the pandemic, let us be sure not to let the Lord’s nearness and our need for Him fade. Let us keep that in the forefront through praise and prayer.
- SOCIAL LIFE
One thing I know I’ll never take for granted again is the ability to go and socialize with others, outside of the house. Eating inside a restaurant, leisurely strolling through the street and enjoying a crowded concert or watching football at the stadium will never be the same again. Hopefully, we’ll all be grateful in new ways for these old joys and simple pleasures.
- PHYSICAL CONTACT
Physical affection is a legitimate need for many. Having to refrain from handshakes, high fives, and hugs has been difficult for me and I am sure for a lot of people. When the pandemic is over, let us be careful not to take for granted the freedom to give and receive affection.
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.” – 2 Corinthians 13:11-12 (ESV)
- EXTENDED FAMILY AND FRIENDS
The pandemic has separated many families. With the government-issued direction to avoid other households, many extended family members have not been able to communicate in person—especially those at high risk. When the danger of the pandemic subsides, let us remember how eager we were to see our family and friends, and let us make the most of it.
- SHOPPING WITHOUT FEAR
Something I believe we’ve taken for granted over the years is the ability to shop without fear of catching a disease or getting too close to a stranger in the market or in the supermarket or mall.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NLT)
Regardless of how contagious COVID-19 is, regardless of how nerve-wracking it is to be around strangers, God is still in control. We are experiencing trouble on this earth, as promised, but we also know that Jesus has overcome the world. And one day, pandemics and viruses and illness will not rule any longer. When the pandemic is over, I’m intentionally going to remember the Lords faithfulness and praise Him every time I go into the market or a store—fear-free.
The Bible says in the first chapter of Job that “the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away” – Job 1:21. Here in Ghana, we’re used to freedoms that sometimes other countries in the world don’t enjoy. During the pandemic, a lot of these freedoms have been restricted, removed, or at the least discouraged. After the pandemic is over, it’s important to stay grateful for those freedoms and be thankful for the ability to gather for church, peacefully assemble in groups, and come and go as we please.
- SMALL BUSINESSES
Many businesses have had to close during the quarantine and during the pandemic, at the risk of not being able to reopen. When the pandemic is over, let us try to broaden our horizons and keep small businesses on the forefront and deliberately patronize them. They’ll need the help! The government has done its part, the rest is for you and me to support them, intentionally.
- SALARIES and JOBS
Many people were not considered essential during the quarantine, and were relieved of their jobs, sent home with no pay or less pay. It has been a major blow. Others have been able to work from home with no change in their salaries, but even these have struggled just the same to adapt to their new environment—especially if that environment was interrupted by children or other family members. After the pandemic, it shouldn’t be difficult to not take our job or our salaries for granted. We should remember to help and be a blessing to someone else who might need the additional assistance in bouncing back.
Good health is one of those things we don’t pay a lot of attention to until it is gone. It seems that everyone knows someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Getting doctor’s appointments and prescriptions during the pandemic have been more difficult than before. Many families have struggled with treating themselves at home for fear of going to the doctor or hospital and risking exposure to COVID-19. When the pandemic is over, it’s important we don’t take for granted our health and the health of our loved ones. As we have seen, it can change in a moment. We shouldn’t live in fear, but rather, in gratitude—grateful for each day’s new mercies – Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23.
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