"Don't forget your mask!"
"Can you pick me up some hand-sanitizer?"
"Six feet apart, six feet apart!"
"My house has never been so clean!"
"My house has never been so messy!"
"Do you want some cookies? I was stress baking again."
These statements, while some may be comical, are statements that have become part of our "new normal." In the last couple months, we have all had to adapt and change in order to meet the new regulations and challenges associated with COVID-19. It may be daunting and sometimes scary, but as a community, it is important for us to remind each other that God is still in control.
This past week I was listening to a webinar by Dr. Henry Cloud. In this webinar, he said one of the most powerful statements that I have probably ever heard. He was recounting the story of the disciples when they were on the boat in the storm. Dr. Cloud said, "The crisis that the disciples were facing did not end when they came safely to shore on the other side. No, the crisis ended the minute that Jesus entered the boat." As readers of that story we know that Jesus had been in the boat from the very start. Even in our crisis right now, we can have hope because Jesus is the overcomer, he is sovereign, and he is here with us through it all.
While we weather this storm, structure and routine are important elements to have in our daily lives. They may seem rigid and demanding to some, however, structure and routine actually allow our brains to have freedom and space to work within. One element of structure and routine that some of our congregants have continued with is meeting with their community groups, although it's now online rather than in person. I was talking to some of our community group leaders and I learned that community group has continued to be a time of encouragement, prayer, and healthy routine.
Many of our groups are choosing to meet at the same time they did before social isolation came into effect, to keep routine and consistency. One leader told me that committing to this time together emphasizes his group's priorities and the importance of keeping in touch to see how everyone is managing. He went on to say, "Coming together around God's word and hearing from each other is our glue." Another leader told me that "Joy overflows whenever we get to connect with each other. My sisters and brothers encourage me by saying we shall not be constrained and overwhelmed by the environment that we are in."
Some groups are choosing to continue with their studies and delve into the Word of God, while others are choosing prayer and encouragement to be the forefront of what they do when they meet together online. Either way, groups are reminding one another of the truth that God is sovereign and in control of this situation. The crisis is not over when we reach the other side, but the crisis is over the minute that Jesus steps into our lives.