The Age of COVID-19
The world is broken and in desperate need of shalom. If you’ve never noticed it before, I bet you’ve noticed it in the age of COVID-19.
COVID-19 is running rampant in our world. At the time that I’m writing this, there are over a million confirmed cases and over 53,000 deaths. In the U.S. alone, there are almost 250,000 cases and over 6,000 deaths.
In the age of COVID-19, social distancing is our new normal. Those who can work from home, do. Those who can’t have either lost their jobs or put themselves at risk when they do go to work. Even churches have suspended their worship gatherings and are finding new ways to worship using online media.
The world is diseased. Human beings are isolated and confined. The world economy is collapsing.
The World God Intended
This is not the world God intended, is it?
What did God intend for the world? Well, we find descriptions of what God intended in two places: the beginning of Genesis and the end of Revelation. The world God intended is a world of health, joy, wholeness, community, friendship. A world of fulfilling work (2:15). A world of plenty (Gen. 2:16). A world of trust and safety in human relationships (2:25). It is a world in which there is “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev. 21:4).
The world God created and intends for us to inhabit is a world of shalom. Shalom is such a wonderful word. It means so much more than cessation of hostilities. It has to do with wholeness, completeness, fullness. Shalom refers to a comprehensive state of well-being that touches every aspect of life
What Can We Do?
But there doesn’t seem to be much shalom in the age of COVID-19. At least that’s what you’d believe if you watch fifteen minutes of CNN or Fox News. They would have you believe that the only thing worth talking about is the latest count of coronavirus cases and deaths, the latest unemployment numbers, and who we should blame for all of this.
It seems they would have us believe we can’t do much about what’s happening. As though the only ones who can do anything good for the world in the age of COVID-19 are medical professionals and scientists, those on the front lines of caring for the sick and those working to discover a vaccine or treatment.
Let me be totally clear. I am so grateful for the work these good people are doing! By doing the work God has called them to do, they are partnering with God to restore shalom in the world.
But are they the only ones who can be shalom-restorers? What about the rest of us?
Bringers of Shalom
The truth is, every single one of us is called to join God in restoring shalom in the world. We may not be called to medically treat people suffering from the COVID-19 virus or develop a vaccine for the coronavirus. But we are called to bring shalom, nonetheless.
Wherever you are, whatever you do, you are called to participate with God in the healing of the world. Now. Today.
And what does that look like for you?
How Are You Called to Bring Shalom?
If you have kids, maybe you’re called to bring shalom to your family by spending lots of time with your kids. You may never have an opportunity like this again!
If you’re married, maybe you’re called to pour love into your marriage in a way you haven’t done before.
Think about your skills and resources and abilities. How might God want to use them to bring shalom into the world?
What skills do you have? Are you good with spreadsheets and numbers? Maybe you can host a Zoom meeting for local people struggling financially to help them figure out a budget that will work for the time being.
What resources do you have? Do you have enough finances to order pizza and help keep that local pizza place in business? Or maybe the taco shop on the other side of town where people have fewer resources than you? Did you stock up on toilet paper? Maybe you’ve got plenty and you can make some available for those who don’t have enough.
What abilities do you have? Do you know how to use a phone? Maybe you can call some people you know are alone during this time. Maybe make a list of people you’ve been meaning to get in touch with and start calling.
And don’t forget about inner shalom. Maybe this is a time for you to say to God, “Ok, Lord, I’ve been putting off connecting deeply with you because I thought I was so busy. Well, now I’ve got some time. So, here I am.”
Maybe this is a season for spending more time in the scriptures, more time in prayer, more time in silence and solitude, listening for the voice that says, “You are my beloved.”
Making Everything New
This is a strange time. None of us knows what the future holds. But we do know that in this present moment, God is calling every one of us to work toward the healing and wholeness of the world. As you and I each do our part, small as it may seem, we can know that God is “making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5)