Back in March when COVID first changed my daily schedule, it didn’t seem so bad. I was able to work from home, which is a convenience I have always wanted. And although we could no longer meet in person for church, I was still able to receive biblical teaching, attend my small group and serve in youth ministry over Zoom. My routine was different and there were some inconveniences like not being able to get a haircut for months, but overall I didn’t really have anything to complain about.
However within a few weeks I started feeling isolated and discontent. I live by myself and have very little interaction with other people when I am home. My new schedule kept me at home for almost the entire week. I rarely went outside except to go running or go to the store. Other than a short daily video call for work, I would often go 2-3 days at a time without talking to anyone and wouldn’t see anybody I knew in person for several days at a time. I had always enjoyed living by myself, but with almost all in-person contact with friends and family on hold, it didn’t seem quite as appealing anymore.
In spite of my growing discontentment, God has continued to be faithful and use this time to teach me and remind me how He always provides. In the past I would often take for granted the relational aspect of church because it was so easily accessible. There were always plenty of people to interact with at service or small group or a ministry event. During this season God has really being using times of personal interaction to encourage me. In particular I have appreciated the interactive aspects of ministry, both formal and informal, that have helped me stay connected to others. My small group has been able to share joys and struggles, pray for one another, and follow up with each other throughout the week via emails or texts. We even have Zoom hangouts/game nights during off-weeks. On Fridays before the youth meeting, the servant leaders are able to meet on Zoom to share and pray for each other. After the meeting we have informal Zoom hangouts with the students. There are times of deep sharing and serious discussions about God and our faith. There are also times of laughter and just getting to know one another better on a personal level. All of these times have encouraged me as I witness how we can spur one another spiritually and enjoy fun, silly moments together.
One of the biggest blessings I had recently was a seemingly ordinary task: deliver care packages to some of our youth students. Previously I might have viewed this as just another task or errand to run. But dropping off a package at someone’s house has become a cherished opportunity to have face-to-face time, even if only for a few minutes while standing 6 feet apart with our faces hidden behind masks. Being able to have a brief in-person conversation with some of our students and their parents was another way God has charged me not to take for granted the many blessings that come from being an active member of the body.
Although I do still miss the times of meeting together in-person, God has reminded me that physical separation does not diminish how we love and support and encourage each other. Whether a brief in-person meeting, a Zoom call, or a text, God has used the community of Lighthouse to minister to me and allow me to experience Christ’s love. And I know He is calling me to do likewise to others. Just as I have been the recipient of much encouragement and support, I can and need to be doing so much more to share Christ’s love with others.
A passage that has challenged and comforted me during this season is Isaiah 55:8-9. I may not know all the answers but I am assured that my current life circumstances are His sovereign plan for me. Although I still fail in so many ways every day, I can rest knowing that He continues to guide my life and that He has provided me with the community of Lighthouse to help me through.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”