What Is COVID-19 Pandemic Teaching You?
A reflection on 5 lessons the global pandemic is teaching us.
Having concluded the series on Pandemic Joy (which, as I write this, has been developed into a 170-paged book that will be out before the end of this month), I thought to also add a post on what lessons we are learning from the pandemic. I’m hoping that this will, in fact, be an open forum so that, beyond the few lessons highlighted here, others, too, can chip in other lessons they are learning from the incident in the comment section. I have highlighted below just 5 lessons I am personally learning through this season:
1. THE INVISIBLE IS MORE IMPORTANT/POWERFUL/DANGEROUS THAN THE VISIBLE.
Who would have thought that an invisible virus could wreak as much havoc as COVID-19 has done in these past few weeks? It reminds me of one of the basic things I learnt from studying Microbiology — how abundant and invisible to the naked eye microorganisms are. Every moment of our lives, we are surrounded by billions upon billions of microbial cells. They are on your skin, in your mouth, on your phone, on your computer screen, on the table where you work, inside your fridge—everywhere, literally. And they are PLENTY!
Guess what? So are the angelic forces ministering to us and working in our favour. I’m reminded of when Elisha and his servant were rounded up by the Syrian army. I pick up the story from 2 Kings 6: 15-17 MSG:
“15 Early in the morning a servant of the Holy Man got up and went out. Surprise! Horses and chariots surrounding the city! The young man exclaimed, “Oh, master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Don’t worry about it—there are more on our side than on their side.” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O God, open his eyes and let him see.” The eyes of the young man were opened and he saw. A wonder! The whole mountainside full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha!”
The only thing that strikes me more than the fact that there are always more angelic forces fighting on our behalf and ensuring our protection than whatever the devil may throw at us (according to that passage) is the last two words in verse 17: “…surrounding Elisha.” In other words, when the eyes of that servant were opened, the bible did not say that he saw those many angels surrounding both of them; no. They were surrounding Elisha. That tells me this: We need to believe it to enjoy it. You need to believe the promise in Psalm 91:11-13 TPT before you can enjoy it.
“God sends angels with special orders to protect you wherever you go, defending you from all harm. If you walk into a trap, they’ll be there for you and keep you from stumbling. You’ll even walk unharmed among the fiercest powers of darkness, trampling every one of them beneath your feet!”
2. THE WEAKNESS OF PLANNING.
Many people have planned out what they will be doing every month of the year, and a half or more of those plans have now crashed. Does this mean we shouldn’t plan? No. But it does mean that we must always make room for God to break in upon our plans and cause His plans and purposes to prevail. To say it as Solomon said it, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT)
The question, though, is “What does ‘GOOD PLANNING’ look like?” Solomon had given us some hints earlier on in the collection:
Proverbs 15:22 (MSG) says “Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.”
Proverbs 16:3 (TPT) says “Before you do anything, put your trust totally in God and not in yourself. Then every plan you make will succeed.”
In other words, the only plans worth keeping are plans you make WITH GOD as the Master Planner. This does not mean that even God-sanctioned plans will come to pass ‘exactly as planned,’ but rather that the plans of God will prevail even when the details don’t align with our intentions and expectations.
3. FAMILY FIRST.
While many people have prioritised work, career, and other earthly pursuits over family, being mandated to stay home has given many no other choice than to confront their sin and reprioritise family moments.
4. THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER WAY.
Who would have thought of the alternatives we have resorted to as our new normals as possible alternatives before? Who would have thought that most churches across the globe could do without physically meeting together as is the case now? Who would have thought that working from home can work for as many people as it is working for at the moment?
There is almost always another way. If you do it one way and fail, let COVID-19 remind you that there are often more ways than one to go about doing stuff.
5. WE MUST GET OUR VALUES STRAIGHT.
Who would have thought that we can do without the things we’ve done without in the past one month — Premier League, Champions League, (and of course, the gamblings and bettings that are tied to those events)? Many people have done without seeing certain people that they used to think they can’t live their lives without. Many have done without visiting places they used to think they can’t afford not to visit. Some have conducted weddings, ordinations and burials with less than 5 people present — or even virtually! Many are, painfully, doing without their work. And some, more painfully, are doing without their loved ones who have given up the ghost in the wake of this virus. And the list goes on and on.
Whatever you are doing without at this very moment is a reminder of the things we cannot afford to put our trust in or base our identity on.
You are not your job—that’s what you do, not who you are.
You are not XYZ’s dad, mum, son, daughter, brother or sister—those are your relatives, not who you are.
You are not a Chelsea of Liverpool fan—that’s the football club you support, not who you are.
WHO ARE YOU?
Let the things you are doing without right now remind you of the many wrong answers to that question.
What is the ONE THING you can’t do without now?
I’ll suggest a three-alphabet answer: GOD. The one-and-only True God. It is in Him that we find our identity (God’s sons and daughters). And it is in Him that we find our purpose (to become like Jesus—saviours who go about doing good, not for self-worth, but for God-worth).
I could go on and on…
What is COVID-19 teaching YOU?
Now, that’s a question for you.
Happy Good Friday.