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Clinging to God in Post-Pandemic Life

The past 15 months have been a rollercoaster for people all over the world as we have navigated the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us experienced incredible loss and grief, whether it was unemployment, death of loved ones or simply the isolation of social distancing and quarantine. Now that the vaccine has been made widely available in the U.S., many communities are beginning to rebuild a sense of normalcy, finally experiencing some relief from the tension and stress of this experience.

As we begin to reconstruct our pre-pandemic lives, we might find that our schedules are becoming more hectic, our to-do lists longer, our responsibilities greater. While I’m sure none of us would choose to experience a global pandemic again, there was a sense of quieting down that occurred. Not only were we forced to be still, we were facing high levels of stress and fear. That combination forced many of us, as believers, to throw our hopes and trust in God, because we had little control over what was happening and no busy schedule to distract us. We were overwhelmed and scared. God had to come through.

That’s the thing about suffering. No one enjoys it. It can be incredibly painful, even devastating. But one thing suffering often does is bring us closer to God. And though I believe God wants us to enjoy life and experience happiness as well, I believe first and foremost He wants us to be close to Him, because that’s what’s truly best for us. It’s what we’re made for. When we’re weak, He is strong. When we have nothing left, that’s when we allow His Spirit to work most powerfully in us. Suffering makes way for us to be comforted by Him.

In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul refers to God as the “God of all comfort,” writing that He “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Scripture also tells us that suffering sanctifies us, helping us refocus on what matters most, the eternal:

“This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” [2 Corinthians 4:17-18]

Of course, the opposite is often true as well. When life is on track, we’re busy, we’re plugging along without any major devastating issues to contend with — it’s easy to begin relying on ourselves. We start to act as if we don’t need God, as if we’ve got it under control.

I think that’s the danger we face in the coming months as life begins to resume: turning our eyes away from God. Often it’s when everything is going okay we forget how truly incapable we are of doing anything without Him. 

“When you have a lot a good things going on in your life, I think you forget you’re as needy as you are,” says author, speaker and artist Jackie Hill Perry. “I think if we keep Jesus before our eyes and see that we always need him, whatever season we are in, then we’ll be able to resist the temptation to stray from him when life is all good.”

Some of us are already experiencing this as we slowly move toward post-pandemic life. But when we don’t have that sense of desperation pushing us to reach out to God, we have to be more intentional about making time for God. We have to carve time out of our schedule and prioritize it regularly, which can be especially difficult when we’re busy and everything else feels “urgent.” As our schedules become fuller with all the vacations, meetings and social gatherings we missed for over a year, we have to be even more vigilant and protective of our time with God.

The good news is, God isn’t mad at us about the days we’ve ignored Him or put other priorities first. We can come to him at any time, and he welcomes us with open arms. Any time you spend with God is valuable and precious because you’re getting to know Him better and simply being with Him, even if it’s been a while since you talked. It also reminds us of our dependence on Him. The more time you spend with Him, the more time you’ll want to spend with Him.

As we move out of this collective hardship, I encourage you to be intentional about your time with God. Choose a time each day to spend a few minutes in silence with Him or reading Scripture. Consider whether or not you want your schedule to look like it did pre-pandemic, or whether you’d like to slow it down. Perhaps you need to bow out of a couple responsibilities or change up your calendar. We have to keep in mind what matters most. Remember, the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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