We were spinning out of control. Our family was simply too busy, always running in different directions for the children’s sports and school. Saturday mornings were the same and on Sundays we scrambled to church. The middle boy complained about having to go anywhere at all while the oldest was always needing a ride to band and water polo practice. The youngest signed up for every event, club, and team, requiring the rest of us to shuttle him around. Our world revolved around them (though mainly him)… until the world came to a screeching halt on Thursday, March 13.
While I don’t want to minimize the deeply tragic effects this pandemic has had on many, and will continue to have on many more, I sense that The Lord is redeeming the days as we endure them. Though the global economy will surely suffer, God’s economy is on the rise. God values family. While we value our families too, the reality is that many of us have been too busy to invest in them as we should. We have all the time in the world to pour into our families now.
Shelter-in-place, safer-at-home, social distancing
We have our shelter-in-place and you’re sheltering with your people at your place. Safer-at-home is our focus. As we sequester away with our loved ones in an effort to stay physically safer, the added bonus is the safe haven it affords us emotionally, relationally and spiritually as a family unit. Embracing this slower pace, is allowing us to purposefully embrace one another. As we lay down our busyness, let’s get to the business of loving one another!
Sitting at the table together for breakfast we’re opening up the Word. “Read The Good Book and other good books” has always been our family motto, but in recent years we’ve been too busy. We’re not too busy now. We’re not too busy for what we say we value most.
Before you think this transition has been easy let me confess that the first week home felt like we were all under house arrest. The days were filled with fights, brothers bickering, and constant complaints. Slowly but surely, however, the boys have started to relax. They’re playing together in ways they haven’t played together in years. It’s as though they’re remembering how dear they are to one another.
Perhaps it has to do with the fact we’re not running from one self-focused event to another, instead the kids are able to focus on each other — they’re serving meals, doing dishes, helping a younger sibling with math, giving up the corner seat on the couch for someone else during a family movie, climbing the hill to pick oranges and squeezing them for breakfast, shooting hoops and working in the yard together… so much togetherness.
Perhaps you’ve heard the familiar phrase, “What the devil intended for evil God meant for good.” Did you know those words are Bible based? In the book of Genesis we’re told the story of a man with many sons, and the youngest was Joseph. For many reasons the older brothers despised him. They came up with and carried out an evil plan against their young brother; beating him to a pulp, ripping his robe, throwing him into a pit to die, but selling him as a slave instead.
Years later, when God had redeemed his life and saved the entire Hebrew nation through him, Joseph told his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:11, NASB).
In His recent book, You’ll Get Through This, Max Lucado wrote:
“Nothing in [Joseph’s] story glosses over the presence of evil. Quite the contrary. Bloodstains, tearstains are everywhere. Joseph’s heart was rubbed raw against the rocks of disloyalty and miscarried justice. Yet time and time again God redeemed the pain. The torn robe became a royal one. The pit became a palace. The broken family grew old together. The very acts intended to destroy God’s servant turned out to strengthen him.
“You meant evil against me,” Joseph told his brothers, using a Hebrew verb that traces its meaning to “weave” or “plait.”
“You wove evil,” he was saying, “but God rewove it together for good.”
God, the Master Weaver. He stretches the yarn and intertwines the colors, the ragged twine with the velvet strings, the pains with the pleasures. Nothing escapes His reach. Every king, despot, weather pattern, and molecule are at His command. He passes the shuttle back and forth across the generations, and as He does, a design emerges. Satan weaves; God reweaves.”
The NIV translation says it this way: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”