Regulations. Stipulations. Isolation. This is a time that the current generation has never seen before. Just ask the graduating class of 2020. When our normal seems to be turned on its head, how should we respond? Does the Church change as well? Should the Church change? We know that uncertain times are expected. It is nothing new. Yet it still doesn’t make it any easier that COVID-19 is bigger than originally thought.
Its cold fingers reach around the globe, pulling out breath, and suppressing necessary functions, leaving families hopeless and holding a handful of pieces that they once called “normal life”. It is human to emote. It is human to question. It is human to be driven to despair and throw hands up in grief and declare a stop to it all. It is through these times that the innermost parts of our hearts are exposed, the wind and rain of our circumstances stripping away the top soil, exposing the depths of our roots. We must stop and ask ourselves “Why”.
Why. Why? WHY?!
Going through a traumatic event leaves us left with our eyes still spinning and our bodies trying to reorient itself. As a child of God, our stability comes from God. By fixing our eyes on Him, we regain the perspective to remain balanced, sure in the storm, and grounded even though we feel unsteady. God is good. Everything He does has a purpose. Everything He says is truth. We are commanded to serve. Our lives are no longer our own, and no matter what we go through we are still commanded to trust and serve. The normal response is to draw inward and recluse from service. Following God through obedience means we will look different. “How can you have compassion for others after what happened to your family?” “How can you forgive and continue to show kindness?”
Our continual obedience is the proof to the skeptical eye that there is a God and He deserves all the praise.
What do I do…exactly?
Trusting is the first step. It is a powerful thing to pray for God to give you the eyes to see needs of those around you. It can be dangerous to pray for compassion, because God gives you the desires of your heart when you pray His will. He will utterly break you. Take heart, because this is glorious!
The closer you walk to the heart of God, the deeper your roots will be. I challenge you to devote a time to prayer where your heart is open and you ask for God to open your eyes to the community around you. A good place to start is the group that you and/or your youth girls align themselves with. Proximity is a great basis for identifying needs. Is there a widow in your neighborhood who is lonely or has trouble getting out for her basic needs? Treasure the words and sights that the Lord brings to mind. Write them down and move to the last step.
How? This is where the rubber meets the road.
I get inspired when I hear of a need and why it is a need. I then look around at my own circumstance and feel “stuck” or “overwhelmed” because I may not have the resources to meet it. You know of global needs, but do you know the needs of your community? Let’s go through some scenarios. I know you’re excited to have some tangible “take-aways.”
Creative Gifts: Everyone is in need of encouragement. Name someone who would turn their nose up at an encouraging note or a gift of thoughtfulness. This can be done as a group of youth girls, as a virtual group via ZOOM, or individually. Identify a group or individual whom you wish to brighten their day. Then get creative!
Scenario: Ms. Hawthorne is a widow and loves the outdoors, yet her age prevents her from enjoying the garden she once had. Have your youth girls take turns sending flowers and notes. Try alternating so she receives fresh flowers and encouragement when the other flowers reach the end of their enjoyment. Offer to service her yard and keep in touch with her. This will bless her and your youth girls simultaneously.
Time: This is such a precious thing. As regulations move towards leniency and more things are opening, people are wanting to get out and away. Offer your time to care for children while their parents have a date.
These are at-a-glance projects that are worth mentioning:
- Bake goods for the service men and women in your community (nurses, firefighters, etc.).
- Send cards and encouraging notes to residents in your community nursing home.
- Offer a “park day” and accompany a mom as an extra set of eyes at a local park.
- Make “Care Packages” for the homeless and keep a few in your car. These can include things like socks, hygiene items, a fast food gift card, etc.
- Participate in your local Food-Drive or other community outreach events.
Service is important. No matter what we endure, service to others is something we should not stop. It shows our love for Christ and is an outpouring of what He has done for us. Ask for God to make you sensitive to the needs of those around you. Think logically how those community needs can be met, rather for an individual or a certain group of people. Service will not only bless the receiver, but also the giver. Stay safe, sanitize, and keep serving.
Bethany Zavala is the daughter of a pastor and grew up in church. She was saved through God’s grace during a revival at the age of 7. Since then she has been in pursuit of Jesus. God led her to the Baptist College of Florida where she and her husband met. After graduating they left to serve in ministry. Bethany’s main ministry is to care for two little humans aged 3.5 and 2. When not wiping away artwork on the walls, you can find her in her garden foraging for veggies. She loves to serve her sixth grade girls Sunday School class. More recently Bethany is an independent contractor for Vipkid. This allows her to teach English to kids in China stateside. She loves to read, play sudoku, and drink her tea while it’s still hot.