“Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)….See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time….” Ephesians 5:8b-9,15-16a
When I started this blog a year ago, my objective was to draw attention to gifts from God we often take for granted—to cultivate gratitude for the daily outpouring of His blessings. I had no idea so many everyday activities and things would evaporate…like hand sanitizer (see my blog from January 20).
Before the coronavirus pandemic, when people casually asked me, “How are you doing,” I’d respond, “Great! It’s always a great day when you’re not lying in a hospital bed with tubes hanging out of you.” Been there, done that, in the past. (Thank You, Jesus, that I’m not hospitalized now…I’m grateful for this incredible blessing.)
But now, here we are, right smack dab in the middle of a time-warped life. Gone are the “normal” moments from a month ago. Drudgery, boredom (in between fits of anxiety over contagion), and loss of incentive have snuck in on us. Who knew we’d miss going to the office??? I sure miss my college students as I’m now unable to meet with them in person.
But, oh, the blessing of doing small tasks! I’m so thankful for getting out of bed every day (right now) without sickness. I’m thrilled to make a pitcher of iced sweet tea for my beloved. I find joy in cleaning the bathroom…putting away dishes and laundry…raking the garden…baking bread and pies…dusting the furniture (well, maybe not that…I hate dusting).
As days unfold and I engage in simple jobs, I’m finding more and more joy, more productivity, and less anxiety in this bad dream called April 2020. I’m enjoying cooking (and eating too much, definitely) with my husband and throwing out stuff around the house.
Even so, my heart is still heavy for those battling this epidemic. We who are sheltered inside owe a huge debt of gratitude to them. My husband is one of those healthcare warriors, and it’s entirely possible he will bring coronavirus home to me. We take each day at a time, waiting to see how this insidious menace unfolds in our community but praying for God’s mercy.
Friends, take heart. God is at work here in all of this, and He has good works for us. Until this epidemic subsides, let’s stay busy and grateful for every breath we take, for every task God sets before us, small or large. And pray. Prayer is not a small task…it’s the essential daily occupation of the Christian life.
Do something with your time today to bless your family, whether it’s cleaning up the kitchen or simply working a puzzle together. Give everyone in your household a hug or a high-five wave to neighbors. Call loved ones who need to hear from you. Donate food to your local food shelter. Clean the bathroom!
Pray…for our world, our leaders, our physical and spiritual health…for the healthcare personnel and first responders constantly in danger of being exposed…for those who are ill or have lost loved ones to this virus…for everyone under financial hardship, especially those who lost jobs.
As you devote yourself to small tasks and prayer, commit to doing them well as a “thank-you note” to God for His gift of salvation through Christ. If you have big drawn-out jobs, break them down into small bites and focus on one little job at a time. You’ll find yourself with more energy, purpose, and enthusiasm and less slogging through the day. Give God the glory in your work and prayers! Redeem the time well for Him!
O magnificent God, You are the Creator of all good things, including work. You have given us lots of wonderful tasks to do, so we thank You for small responsibilities and the opportunities to accomplish something for Your kingdom. Bless us today with energy, drive, and purpose in our work…help us to get things done for You and others. Give us grace when we fail, pluck us out of despondency, and set us back on our feet to serve You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Recipe for Southern-style sweet tea:
1 gallon water + 2-3 pitcher-sized or 6-9 regular black or pekoe tea bags + 3/4 to 1 cup sugar
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in saucepan; remove from heat and add tea bags to desired strength. Steep tea for 10 to 20 minutes, then remove bags. Stir in sugar until melted. Add to gallon-sized pitcher with remaining 2 quarts cold water; chill or serve over ice.