Life may never be the same!
Even when our nation goes into complete easing from coronavirus control measures, we are likely to self-restrict ourselves for some time.
Our lives and schedules have been disrupted. We’ve been busy with some things like never. Constantly thinking, for instance, what else to cook or buy back to eat. How to keep our family happy and safe at home. Thankfully, we’ve more than survived.
In times like this, lingering health and financial issues naturally continue to be of great concern. God, however, remains our best and only Shelter in this storm. In Him, we continue to trust.
Seeing Beyond the Obvious
Within this storm, however, we also face a less obvious danger. It’s one with potentially painful consequences. The Bible alludes to this in Ephesians 5:
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
[Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV)]
This is a call not to be engrossed with just our daily physical challenges. It’s a call to review and re-prioritise what we do. Otherwise, we may miss seeing other things with deeper implications and consequences.
The above verses imply that people may not be “making the best use of the time”. If they did, there would be no need to highlight it. So, this applies to me too.
Interestingly, the word “time” here is not “chronological or sequential time” (chronos or χρόνος). Instead, the word means “opportune time” (kairos or καιρός). Hence, this phrase is translated as “making the most of every opportunity” in the New International Version.
All of us are certainly making full use of our chronological time, don’t we? In fact, we all have no time! We can make full use of our time yet fail to make the most of our unique opportunities presented at this moment.
Hence, we need to respond right now by taking special actions that are unique to us. Otherwise, we may look back with regrets and realise that we’ve lost some key opportunities present only at this time.
Seizing Our Unique Opportunities
So, what shall we do? We should “buy back” or “redeem” (as implied in the phrase “make the best use”) this opportune time. It’s to re-possess and act on our opportunities.
Here are some ideas how you and I may do so.
Firstly, let’s be wise in stepping back and looking carefully to see the big picture of what’s happening to us. To be wise involves discerning and arriving at a correct judgement or view of our situation. How we are living? What changes are needed? How then shall we live to further glorify God?
Importantly, we must also ask the question: “What am I missing in what I am doing or not doing right now?” This helps give us foresight, rather than hindsight “wisdom” and regrets.
Secondly, rather than living by default in reaction to the urgencies of each day, live intentionally to recapture your opportune time right now. You and I may wish to consider whether our opportunities lie in the areas below, where we may need to:
Draw Closer to God. What is God’s specific purpose for you and me in our situation? Has our time with God been disrupted or enhanced? Must we direct more time to draw closer to God in prayer, worship, and His Word?
Strengthen Key Relationships. Beneath the outer veneer, are our relationships with loved ones truly well from their perspective? Not just ours. Are we doing things just as a functional father or mother, but our children do not feel the bond? Are there strains that need healing and forgiveness? Do we need to humble ourselves to say “sorry” even when we don’t feel it’s necessary? How can we seize this opportunity of the 24/7 physical proximity to strengthen bonds? Do we need to actively listen more and develop common interests to show our true love. Do we need to put away the phone and laptop to pay more attention to them?
Get Physically Fitter. Despite being mostly cooped up, do we need to take simple steps to increase out fitness level? Will this better serve our loved ones and God’s purpose for our lives?
Develop a New Digital Paradigm. The future in business and ministry may never be the same. Churches, businesses, and organisations may evolve into digital entities with physical locations. What are we doing to proactively learn and equip ourselves to be digitally ready, relevant, and effective? Are we conversant, for instance, with the use of webinars, videos, website and social media for communication and engagement? It need not be everything, but perhaps something?
Bless People in Need. Social distancing and stay-home measures may have subtly made us more self-oriented and introspective. We have been focusing on caring for own interests. Yet there are individuals that God would want us to reach, love and help. Who may they be?
Take Other Actions as God brings them to mind.
So, in this crisis, there are opportunities. Seek them out and do good. The days are evil. There are clearly evil doers with hateful words and actions towards others. May we be God’s counterforce for doing good in our family, church, and world. It’s our way of honouring God, in whom we trust as our Shelter in this storm.
May God give us the wisdom, desire, and strength to act for His glory.
Will you join me in this prayer for God’s help?
“Almighty God our Heavenly Father, in You I trust. Thank You for protecting and providing for my loved ones and me. Open my eyes to understand how to seize this opportune time. Help me to deepen my relationships. Bring healing in every area of my life. Show me what to do and who to touch. And empower me by Your Holy Spirit to do it all for Your Glory. I ask this, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”