Being cooped up in your house for weeks without end can produce great frustration. Jonathan and Melodee Whitman know that feeling all too well. Their family serves in Perugia, Italy, where the COVID-19 pandemic has hit hardest. In this article, Jonathan shares 10 silver linings he's found in the midst of a time of trial, things people all over the world can apply right now.
Coronavirus is scary. Certainly a few important questions come to mind:
When will it end? Will we survive? How will we pay the bills? How will I survive the boredom of being stuck inside with nothing to do?
The good news is that God ordered Israel to stop often … not just once a week. There were good reasons for that. Here are a few tips I have come up with from my first week of lockdown:
- Spend more time with your children and spouse
- Make memories!
- We played dodgeball as a family in our small yard.
- My son, Noah, and I have time to play chess.
- We have played FIFA on the Playstation (but not too much).
- We enjoy cooking together.
- We are praying together (more later).
- Get ahead with your reading while enjoying a nice fire
- Readers are leaders!
- My goal is 40 books this year. I track my reading with Goodreads.
- Video courses are good too. My wife, Melodee, and I are signed up for a thinking course, and I am signed up for a coaching course and a course on the book of Romans.
- Catch up on sleep
- Ahhh … the elusive eight hours of sleep! It’s amazing how much better I can think when I take care of my sleep.
- Enjoy the break! Trust in God! Rest is an act of faith in God’s ability to meet our needs.
- Sometimes our sleep deprivation is not due to an actual need but to bad choices. Netflix even admits that their main competition is with sleep.
- Catch up on your housework
- Put stuff away finally. Or get the kids to put their stuff away!
- Declutter your life. Evaluate what you have, what you actually need, what you could get rid of.
- Care more about those who are at risk with the virus
- We have several in our congregation that are high risk. We pray for them and keep in touch with them. Unfortunately, many older people have died because of the indifference of people toward keeping the virus from spreading.
- Family worship
- We had an extraordinary time of worship Sunday as a family. Melodee played the piano, I played guitar, Noah ran the PowerPoint off our TV, and Eva stood up and sang her heart out! Of course, the kids enjoyed choosing the songs, and Noah even read us a Psalm.
- Our kids loved it! They want to do it again. I only asked why we had not done this sooner … it took a worldwide pandemic to make this possible.
- The opportunity to team up with others
- Our coworker Daniel and church member Danilo worked feverishly to get an online message up for our team.
- Wednesday night’s test run was incredibly well attended, and there was very good interaction. Danilo’s sister even recorded herself singing along with the worship songs!
- You can see the service here.
- Encourage others
Make time to encourage others or to show the love of Christ, especially to unbelievers. People are more than ever hungry to make sense of all this. They are more than happy to receive a verse of encouragement in a time such as this. Make the most of every opportunity! Ephesians 5:16
- Use Facebook
- Connect with Whatsapp. Here in Italy, most people use this method to send text messages, video conference calls, and audio messages, as well as Bible verses.
- Make a phone call (novel idea!)
- Realize how much you love your church
- Our church people are writing up a storm of encouraging messages.
- Our people would have been willing to risk being infected by the virus to spend time together! Fortunately, with today’s technology that is not necessary.
- Stop to realize how much you love and need God
- Get your prayer life and devotional life back on track.
- Read some deeper books about life. Journal. Pray. Meditate on God’s word.
- Read some Puritans or, even better, read through the Psalms or Romans. Or Job!
Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get to do all that you hope to do. You have to roll with the punches a bit, especially with children, but I guarantee that it will be a memorable time that God can use in your life!