We’re in a season of disappointment.
In the space of 24 hours, we’ve gotten notice after notice of cancellation.
We’ve had multiple local events cancel like The Players Championship that heralds spring in my city every year. A half-dozen friends are making a quick trip to Walt Disney World today before it shuts down for the rest of March.
Some are weightier cancellations. A friend’s daughter was one win into the national college basketball tournament and fingertips close to a national title when an announcement shut it all down and her team flew home with deep disapointment.
Work opportunities, mission trips, senior trips and once-in-a-lifetime events have been cancelled and we don’t know how long this will last.
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We’re in a season of disappointment.
And while the timing of COVID-19 and these cancellations are outside of our control, our response and what we do with this time rests solely with us.
Because here’s what Coronavirus hasn’t cancelled.
1.Kindness hasn’t been cancelled.
If you’ve been to the grocery store this week, you’ve seen it: people are getting testy. Jobs are being affected, people are worried and needed items feel scarce. We need to kill the tension with kindness. Kindness on the interwebs (please and thank you), kindness for those whose perspective is different as we navigate this season, kindness for those in positions of leadership making decisions, and kindness for each other as we stand in long lines.
2. Gratitude hasn’t been cancelled.
This is when we need gratitude the most. In the face of deep disappointment, especially in deep disappointment, focusing on all that we have instead of what we don’t is life giving.
Gratitude doesn’t change the circumstance but it changes us in the circumstance. And we always have a thousand things to thank God for. In fact, gratitude opens our eyes to all God is doing even in hard situations. So grab a pen. Start a daily good list or sit down and write 100 things you’re thankful for right now. You will be a different person for it.
3. Helping someone else hasn’t been cancelled.
Our elderly neighbor or immune-compromised friends aren’t complaining about cancellations. So many don’t have the luxury of shopping the store shelves for more Lysol® wipes or running needed errands right now. I’m preaching to my own heart because most days as a single, work-at-home and homeschooling mom, getting dinner on the table for my own family is a triumph. But I’m praying to see need in these next few weeks and to be able to meet it.
In a season of disappointment, refreshing others always refreshes our own heart. It’s the best kind of medicine.
4. Enjoying your family hasn’t been cancelled.
As a girl born and raised in Florida, we know what it is to hunker down and wait for a storm, especially when life outside gets cancelled. I’ve always viewed the time before the storm as a gift. Kids come home. We gather close and share meals and game nights.
We live in a culture always running to the next thing. Family dinners and evenings spent together are scarce. Making the most of this slow time with family hasn’t been cancelled.
5. Pulling together as a community hasn’t been cancelled.
Crises can sometimes bring out the worst in humanity but it often brings out the best. In the last 5 years, we’ve been impacted by three major hurricanes – two that brought serious damage and long-term power outages. What followed those hurricanes was old-fashioned community grit. The morning after one storm hit, a friend who’d been going house to house, came by with his chainsaw to cut up fallen trees. An hour later, a truckful of college kids showed up to help with yard debris. They not only completely took care of my yard, but then cleaned the yard for the elderly widow across the street.
We don’t know what the next few weeks hold but one thing’s for sure: we have the opportunity to see the best of our community. To teach our kids how to rise above circumstances and reach out to help. I have a feeling we’re about to see everyday heroes all around us.
6. Trusting God in all things is never cancelled.
Coronavirus-19 is not in control. God is on the throne. We don’t need to wring our hands or fear because God’s promises hold no matter what. If you find yourself in a cul-de-sac of fear, take those thoughts captive to the truth of Christ and free yourself to live in this season and through this season trusting God.
You know, it’s a gift to come to a place where we realize we are not in control. I came to that place after Dan died and as a sudden widow and single mama trying to shepherd eight broken hearts, all I could do was cast myself on God.
Hudson Taylor said that God “wants you to have something far better than gold, and that is a helpless dependence on Him that He may have the privilege (the right) of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.”
Helpless dependence on God is the best place to be. It’s a place of peace no matter the circumstances and trust no matter the need because God is a good, good Father.
Trusting God in the unknown, in the wait and in the hard is never cancelled.
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6