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Nobody saw this coming. I sure didn’t. Two weeks ago, I was in my classes, getting lunch at the Caf and meeting up with my friends. Today, I watched class lectures from my bed at home, made my own lunch and attempted to FaceTime my friends, who have gone home to different states. Quarantine was not on my radar—COVID-19 has drastically turned our world upside down.
Because of the virus’s steady fatal increase, many people are spending most, if not all, of their time at home. New rules implemented by government officials include “social distancing” and closures of various stores, restaurants and businesses. California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a “stay at home” order last week, urging residents to remain in their homes to help contain the virus, according to The New York Times. Even local beaches are closing!
For our high paced society, this is a major change.
However, this time away from the hustle and bustle of life can become one of the most spiritually refreshing times of our lives. We should use the extra time we have to actively strengthen our faith. Here are a few ways to best use this down time for the Lord.
1. Set up a consistent devotional routine.
There is no better time to incorporate daily devotions into your routine. Our souls crave time with the Father. Devotions often entail following a daily devotional book. This is a great way to study Scripture in a deeper and more consistent manner.
Desiring God writer Jon Bloom explains that, when reading the Bible, you can practice different types of Scripture reading. “Read through the Bible in one year, camp in a book and memorize it another year, take a few months to meditate on and pray through texts,” he recommends. Start small, with a few verses or a chapter a day. Discover what works for you and do it.
Find the time and pattern that fits best with your schedule. I find the most uninterrupted time for devotions in the evening. Once all my tasks for the day are complete, I am able to rest and focus on the Lord. Devote yourself to spending unbroken time with the Almighty. We live in a challenging time—use it to praise and thank God for his promises and faithfulness.
2. Reach out to those who need help.
A beautiful example of sacrifice and love can be found in northern Italy—one of the hardest hit nations. A 72-year-old Italian priest was diagnosed with the coronavirus, now one of over 80,000 in the country who have contracted the virus as of March 26, according to Worldometer. When he was given a ventilator, priest Don Guiseppe Berardelli offered it to a younger patient. Not long after, USA Today reported his death.
While maintaining the healthy social distancing rules, this is an opportunity to reach out to those around you—family, friends and neighbors alike. As college students, we have the time to turn to those in need. We can create care packages for the homeless, or we can check up on neighbors who have children, ensuring they have enough diapers and formula.
3. Share the gospel.
Since COVID-19 has interrupted millions of lives, people have been tuning in to church services online. I have heard that there are a record number of church services being streamed Sunday mornings during quarantine. People are seeking an afterlife—eternal life. The green light for missions is now, just be sure to do it in a way that keeps yourself and others safe.
In a YouTube video, pastor Francis Chan shares that Christians now have a monumental opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with others. He challenges the church to remain faithful in sharing God’s love, remain joyful through difficulty and remain at peace with God’s promises.
Share the reason for your love, joy and peace with anyone who may ask. The light of Christ will shine in and through you. Others might just be uplifted and encouraged by you during this season.
“We are people who are supposed to be fearless—absolutely fearless,” Chan said, reminding us that God continually commands us to “fear not” in scripture.
Do not be afraid, friends. Hold fast to your love, your joy and your peace. Use this time to grow in your own faith and use it to share the gospel. Pray for the nations. The world is hurting right now. We must trust the mighty physician to heal and restore us.