Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31, N.K.J.V.)
As the Coronavirus continues to adversely affect our daily lives, many people are wondering what lesson God is trying to teach us through it. While I don’t claim to have a patent on that answer, I feel safe in saying that, if nothing else, God seems to be using the virus to slow us down. I mean, who can argue that “Go, go, go” hasn’t become “stay home, stay home, stay home”?
This reminds me of a lesson that a certain college football player once learned the hard way. The player’s name was Nate Irving, and he was a linebacker for N.C. State. Going into the 2009 season, Irving was a preseason All-ACC pick and was poised for big things. That all changed, though, on June 28, 2009, when he left N.C. State’s Raleigh campus and made the 90-mile drive to visit his family in Wallace, NC. When the visit was over, Irving’s family tried to get him to spend the night with them and drive back to school the next morning. Irving, however, would hear none of it and insisted on driving back to Raleigh that night. That turned out to be a bad decision as he fell asleep at the wheel about 30 Raleigh miles outside Raleigh and crashed his car.
The wreck left Irving with broken ribs, a separated shoulder, a compound fracture in his left leg, and a collapsed lung. His injuries forced him to miss the entire 2009 season, but he counted himself fortunate just to be alive. He then rehabbed his injuries, returned to the team for the 2010 season, played at an All-American level that season, and was drafted in the third round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. Needless to say, Irving’s story had a happy ending. Still, though, he never forgot his death-defying crash and said of it, “There’s nothing more important than getting your rest. I almost lost my life because I didn’t get enough rest.”
Am I staying busy during this current pandemic? Yes, I am. I’m still preaching to my congregation twice a week (by way of You Tube online streaming and short-distance radio broadcasting), I’m writing three blog posts per week, and Malcolm Woody and I are doing a podcast most every week. But am I as busy as I was before the Coronavirus hit? No, I’m not. I haven’t been doing any personal visiting, and I haven’t been having any meetings at church, either.
Of course, my family and I count ourselves blessed that not one of us has been afflicted with the Coronavirus (at least not yet). That blessing in and of itself would be plenty for which to thank God. I have to say, though, that another blessing that we’ve experienced during this time has been simply being able to slow down for a while and catch our collective breath from life’s hectic pace. Others have experienced this blessing as well even if they haven’t fully appreciated it for the good it’s done in their lives. No doubt God knew that many of us needed such a slow down. And maybe, just maybe, that’s one of the reasons why He has allowed the Coronavirus. It’s at least something to consider, even though I’m sure that it hasn’t been His only reason.