Monday, 13 April 2020 15:46

Don't Just Endure, Learn!

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It seems odd to look for silver linings amid our global crisis, but an improving environment is one of them. 

In an ironic twist, a virus that attacks the lungs has dramatically improved worldwide air quality by immobilizing cars and shutting down factories. 

The benefits were most evident in Wuhan, China, where elderly residents celebrated seeing the stars for the first time since their youth. India, which is among the nations with the world's worst air quality, is also experiencing a drastic improvement. 

Although no one is happy about the havoc being unleashed on the globe, it's definitely worth noting the speed at which our environment rebounds when given a chance. 

And yet as quickly as things change, they can revert back to the way they were. Since China gradually began lifting its lockdown, and cars and factories came roaring back to life, pollution soon followed. 

Honestly, the symmetry of this story was very disheartening. Of course, it is good news that China seems to have contained the virus, and things are going back to normal - but shouldn't some things change permanently? 

While the world, like China, will eventually emerge from this terrible disease, it’s crucial we ask what former ills are better left behind. Beyond the smog, our world is gripped by greed, busyness, loneliness, and materialism. 

These, too, have been confronted by our current reality. It's hard to buy things when you can't leave your house, and worldwide calendars have been cleared - meaning we're no longer that busy. 

In the Bible, James encourages us to be joyful in a trial because the result is a refined character and a resilient spirit: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3)

But here's the thing - merely going through something hard is NO guarantee that you will benefit from it. It's easy to miss the first word of verse 4: let. 

We have to LET a trial change us, as our response to it is critical. We may go through this terrible time and learn NOTHING. How tragic would that be?! 

I have noticed that my obsession with productivity was coming from the lie that human praise and approval would satisfy the longings of my heart. Now that my plans have all been canceled, I am having to find validation in God alone. 

This pandemic has taught me that I needed a constant distraction to be happy; I had lost the art of sitting still. Endless images, videos, and audio were polluting my mind. I know now more than ever that it is in the stillness that God is found, and so I have dedicated myself to creating space for it. 

What has this lockdown revealed about your life, and what should change? 

I pray that God will show mercy to our suffering world, and bring an end to this devastating virus. But while the air is clear, I want to remember the feeling and commit to a better future. I don't just want to endure hardship - I want to learn from it!

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is the Director of Come&Live! and is the younger son of David and Jodi Pierce. Come&Live!’s vision is to create a worldwide mission community that will provoke and inspire Christian artists to use their God-given creativity to revolutionize the world for Jesus.
Instagram: @nzbenpierce
Twitter: @benalanpierce

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