Seeing God’s Gifts in Times of Difficulty

Rather than wallow in boredom, we can utilize our quarantine to become better

By Arthur Schwartzman | | Topics: Coronavirus
Coronavirus isolation is a challenge, and an opportunity
Photo: Johanna Geron/Flash90

Not all Israeli citizens are locked up in quarantine, however, just a few day ago, the Israeli government’s new directives sent thousands of healthy people home, further limiting their mobility.  Many memes started circulating on the interwebs of people losing their minds at home as they come into uninterrupted contact with their children and spouses. Is it our goal during this time to keep the beast of boredom at bay or could it be for us a test and a lesson?

In an address to the public, PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the public sector would shift to work in emergency mode, and the private sector would operate at 30%. It meant that all businesses, large or small had to cut their workforce, and send their employees home under ‘leave without pay’. Those who could, took their work home, but those who couldn’t had to be sent home, most probably till after Passover, and rely on unemployment checks for the time being.

I will attempt to overlook the dread and uncertainty of the situation at hand, and try to take a look at this predicament, from a slightly different angle. For many of us, our everyday life, as we know it got put on hold, and there is little that can be done about it from our end. One could ask the following, is it the government who sent us home, or is it the sovereign God of history? We can look at this a couple different ways, but the ball is in your half of the court – you are home, for a month – what are you going to do with your time?

Streaming sites opened some of their services for free, demand for home entertainment is growing internationally, online courses on many topics are being provided for special discounts, ebook and audiobook ads pop-up more frequently on our online devices. Many companies seek opportunities to grab our attention as millions of people are encouraged to stay indoors. Our focus becomes erratic as we realize the sudden break from life, and we ask: “Now what?”

When God sends you home, when God tells you to take a month out of your life and break away from your routine, when God gives you the ever so valuable gift – the gift of time, how will you respond to God? How will you respond to the reality that surrounds you, that you can wake up tomorrow and do ‘X’. X=?

Have you been so busy lately that you found your prayer life lacking? When was the last time that you invested in reading the Bible for more than a few minutes? When was it that you last spoke with your life-partner about something deep, outside of your jobs? If the answer is vague enough, you can be sure that God worked things for good so that you can look deeper into yourselves and your relationships and sort things out. Writing down your testimony, taking a hermeneutics course online, abiding in silence, enjoying a cup of coffee, revisiting intimacy with your spouses… there are many options to go by to cultivate new healthy habits.

Memes can be funny, but the cynicism that they’re applying should fly above out heads, as we know well that God bestows work upon us even when we’re seemingly away from our workplace. Practice love, invest in your personal union with Christ, dive into your God-given vocations, read the Word and other godly writers, and remember to rest, as no such opportunity as this may arise again. Make the most of your precious God-given time.


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