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9 weeks. That’s how long it’s been since COVID-19 took over our lives. 9 weeks of isolation. 9 weeks since our lives all stopped. 9 weeks since my calendar mattered. 9 weeks.

And I’m happy. I’m happy that we were forced to stop. That we were forced to stop the craziness, the busyness, the noisiness of life. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy about the disease, the deaths, or the economic loss. I’m not happy about the moments missed, the birthdays, the graduations,the celebrations. But I’m happy that we’ve all stopped.

I’m happy that we’ve all slowed down. That we’ve refocused our attention to what really matters. We’ve found each other again. We’ve found ourselves again. We’ve found God again.

This time in isolation has actually been a blessing. It’s allowed us to draw closer to God. To stop and listen to Him. To not be busy with preparations but instead, to just sit with Him and let Him speak to us.

Are you familiar with the bible story of Martha and Mary? In Chapter 10 of Luke, we meet these two women. Jesus had come to visit these two sisters. And just like many of us when faced with company, Martha feverishly ran around the house cleaning and cooking and serving. Her sister, on the other hand, just sat down and enjoyed the party. As you can imagine, Martha was not pleased with her sister. Here poor Martha was so busy with everything, she just wanted everything to be nice. She had a house full of people who needed to be fed! And Mary just sat there! She didn’t help at all!

The thing is, Mary wasn’t wrong. She knew she needed to stop and just sit with her company. She needed to sit with Jesus. She needed to listen to Jesus. It wasn’t that she didn’t care about her sister, the house, or even the food. She did. It’s just that Jesus mattered more. Everything else could be done later. But spending time with Him? That needed to happen right then.

And as we consider this, it is easy to look at Martha and shame her for not realizing that she was with the Lord and should have stopped too. Because she was spending time with the Lord. She was serving the Lord. She was loving Him her own way. She wanted to serve Him and to please Him. Who doesn’t? But that eventually morphed into something else. It turned into a distraction. It turned into her trying to please everyone. It turned into her trying to make everyone happy.

She let the busyness of serving get in the way of the reason for serving.

She let the busyness of life get in the way of reason for life.

And we are all guilty of being just like Martha.

Because we run around. Because we are needed here or needed there. Because we have to do this or that. And then we miss out. We forget. We burn out.

When we are just too busy sometimes God will find ways to make us just slow down and sit with him. Just sit. Not prepare. Not check on things. Just sit. Just be.

We get so focused on our busy lives, filled with busy things, busy kids, busy schedules, that we forget why we are doing any of it. We forget WHO we are doing it for. Is it all for His glory? Is it for His benefit? Is it for our indulgence? For our happiness? Is it for the favor of others? So maybe they will like us better? Maybe even envy us because we are so “involved”?

It’s something I've been reflecting on in these nine weeks. And I think He is asking us to be still and listen to Him now, without distraction. There will be time to be busy again. But right now, we need to be alone with just Him and listen to what He wants from us.

What is He asking for right now? What is he telling you?

Before Jesus’ ministry began, He spent time in isolation. Just Him, God, and desert. 40 days. He spent that time reflecting, praying, and fasting.. He was spending time with His Father, filling up on Him. He didn’t have distractions. Just stillness. He was able to have an intimate experience with God. He was preparing Himself and relying solely on God’s Word to sustain Him. Because it was all He needed. Quiet isolation from the busyness of life and the busyness of what was to come.

And so here we are. In isolation. And I believe God called us, me, to fast from the busyness of life. This outbreak, this disease, this COVID-19 has forced us to slow down, forced us to draw closer to Him, to rely on Him. It has forced us to leave our idols that we unknowingly worshiped, our jobs, our schedules and calendars, our need for approval from others, our temptations and desires that take us away from God, separate us from time with Him, and fast. This is our time in the desert, our time of isolation with distractions. And just like Satan tempted Jesus, we are also battling temptations during this time. We are battling doubt. Depression. Bitterness. Addictions. Worry. Anger. But we must dig deep within ourselves and lean into the Lord like never before. Trust Him more than we ever have. Because we are coming out of this.

When we leave our deserts, our quarantine, we will be leaving better. We will have regained insight, love, focus, obedience to Him. We will have been transformed. Out of the ashes of this pandemic, we will rise to greatness. So fill your cup, suit up, and let’s begin. We all have a great journey ahead of us. A great calling on our lives. It’s time.

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