I think it’s safe to say that everyone, to some degree, is struggling right now.  We’ve unexpectedly walked into a season of uncertainty and we’ve done it together, which is incredibly ironic given the circumstances.  This forced separation is perhaps the first thing in a long time to unite even the most undivided among us.  We are witnessing both a revival of life and a weeping and mourning for the lives we once knew.

I’ve seen the goodness in humanity return as people begin to shift their gaze from self to others; from self serving to servant.  I’ve seen large groups of people coming together to lift their voices to God, the only one who can heal our infirmities and cleanse our soul.

Families have been outside enjoying each other and dinner is mostly being eaten together at home.  The void of athletics and over-packed schedules is being replaced with family game nights and conversation.

Caregivers are finding creative ways to close the gap of loneliness that their elder family members are experiencing.  Nursing homes are being flooded with letters and cards and window visitors.

Churches are finding ways to worship and are finally embracing what it means to “be” the church, bringing the gospel to others no matter the cost.  Teachers are navigating uncharted waters and they are doing it with limited resources and the grace that only a few people can understand.

Make no mistake, this virus has taken so much. It has also taken the lives of loved loves.  It has taken the honor of a proper funeral and burial for some.  It has taken celebrations and freedoms that we once took for granted.  It has taken all of our resources; our essential workers and our supplies.  It has taken an income for many.  It has taken graduation and life experiences.  It has taken school, extracurricular activities and routine.   It has taken away the comfort of the familiar and thrust us into the unknown and the seriousness of it all is not lost on me.

But like everything in life, there is goodness embedded in the darkness.  I’m sorry to say it out loud but this nation that I love so much has become incredibly self serving and wicked.  Trivial matters were continually taking center stage and poisoning the minds and hearts of the people.  Internet sensations, the media and celebrities were telling the world what to value most and it was working.

Yes, this virus has taken so much.  It has taken the freedom to go-go-go at an alarming pace.  It has taken the ability to pack a schedule so busy that self care and mental health are placed on a back burner.  It has taken away the constant argument between parent and child over sports, achievement and ungrateful attitudes.  It has taken simple pleasures of entertainment that most of us rely on; the pleasures that pass quickly before we are looking for the next trip, event or trouble to fill the void.  It has taken away the mask of busyness we wear to hide our truths.

We are in uncharted waters, for sure.  There have been days during this quarantine that I have struggled to keep my head above water.  I’ve had to fight to keep myself from spiraling into a depression because my coping mechanism is to retreat when the weight of my load feels to heavy.  I’ve been burdened with fear so paralyzing that it has kept me awake at night.

And so I have done the only thing I know to do when I get to the end of myself.  I have thrown myself at the foot of the throne and asked God to give my unfaithful heart perspective and peace.  For all this virus has taken, God has given back and used for the good of those who love him.  He has given us the ability to create a new life out of the remnants of the old.  And what a gift that is.

He has also given us the one thing that we can never get back and that is time.  Time to make things right in your own heart.  Time to take your talents and serve others.  Time to spend with your children and spouse.  Time to come to the end of yourself.  Time to rise from the ashes.  Time to seek and search.  Time to be still.

Isn’t it just like God to give us the one thing we can never get back on our own?  Take this time and quiet the chaos within yourself and you will find peace around you like you have never known. 

**Ecclesiates 2:10-11**  

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired.  I refused my heart no pleasure.  My heart took delight in my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil.  Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the sun.”