Lockdown blog — Cherish the Insights
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields a better return than gold. She is more precious than rubies, nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honour. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, those who hold her fast will be blessed — Proverbs 3:13–18
COVID-19 has brought a lot of change since it first hit our shores a few months ago. One thing to change has been our vocabulary. We now regularly use a bunch of terms that we either used very infrequently or that didn’t exist a few months back! ‘New normal’ is in vogue at the moment. It sounds like an edgy teen drama that Channel Four might make but it’s really just a blanket term for the very mundane way we’re managing to exist without going near each other. We’ve also heard a lot about ‘lockdown’, which too sounds edgy, but mostly involves doing jigsaws and scrolling through social media till your eyes sting with the boredom. But the one that seems to have caused the most consternation at the moment is ‘exit strategy’. Boris said on Sunday that “coming down the mountain can be more dangerous than climbing it”. We’ve got to ‘stay alert’ less we miss something on our way out and mess it up!
What might we miss? What are the things we need focus on so we come out of this well? Boris said at the end of his (much maligned) speech, we’ll be better and more robust at the end of all this. What will be better about us?
For my part, talk of the end and thinking about a return to normal (whatever that will be) has got me thinking about the lessons I’ve learned; that I don’t want to forget, that I do want to take with me into the ‘next normal’. Loads of people I talk to mention how they’re going to live differently post-lockdown. I catch myself confidently joining in with their wisdoms.
“I won’t be going back to the rat race any time soon, I’m going to cherish the moments and spend time with my loved ones.”
Yet I can’t help but think I won’t manage it. I, along with everyone else, after a few overdue hugs and a sing at church, will rush back into life and some of the treasure I’ve stumbled upon will have slipped through my fingers.
In its wisdom passages, the Bible talks about life changing insight being more valuable and precious than gold! Search for it! Get it! Keep it! Treasure it! Says the proverbial sage Solomon. (Proverbs 1–3)
I, like everyone else, have gained some insight these last few weeks. Some of the lessons I’ve picked up feel a lot like worldly wisdoms. Some of them seem like clear God revelations. But I reckon God in His wisdom, by the common grace He pours out as we see more in some moments than others, has been speaking. And I, along with millions of others, have found myself listening. And having listened and learnt, I should try and keep and retain. So in an effort to do this I thought I’d write a few down…
Lockdown wisdom #1 - Be still
I’m not certain but I think the last month may have been the first truly still moment of my life. Still enough to wonder. Still enough to pray with some heart. Still enough to read and reflect. Still enough to really see the people in my life, to notice their personalities and foibles. Still enough to listen properly. To be still in the 21st century is virtually impossible. There’s so much to do! Yet so much to miss in the busyness. Sometimes we’ve got to stop! To be still and know God is God! (Psalm 46)
Lockdown wisdom #2 - Look at the creation
We don’t look around at our earth nearly as often as we should. When we do, we forget it’s made, we forget we’re supposed to look after it! I don’t want to be too spacey over this, but the planet we live on really does speak! When we take time to look at it, to enjoy it, to be awestruck by it. To remember or to come to realise it’s made and shaped and screams of a creator. When we think about the sun, the moon, the stars… we come to see ourselves for what we really are. (Psalm 8)
Lockdown wisdom #3 - Cherish the simple things
I heard it said in a lockdown podcast that 80% of our most precious and significant memories occur in the incidental moments of life! We expend so much energy searching for meaning and happiness in big things like career, achievement and the like (good stuff to pursue don’t get me wrong). But what do you think you’ll long for on your death bed? Another promotion or a walk in the park with your loved ones?
Lockdown wisdom #4 — Sing with others
I didn’t really appreciate how much I enjoyed singing at church until (pretty much for the first time in my 41 years) I’ve not been able to do it. We spend so much time disagreeing as people that there’s something beautiful about the sound of a 100 or so people who ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’. And what do we agree about? God, His love; a great sacrifice! And in singing about that, we are humbled yet lifted up, we can be sad yet joyous and though we’re different, we unite. We need to remember this when we sing a song we don’t like or the person sitting behind us sounds like death. 🙂 We should sing forever. (Revelation 7:9)
What are your lockdown wisdoms? What treasure have you picked up? You never know, this week you may just have found something more precious than rubies when you took time to explain something to your kids. Or the path to peace when you stopped to reflect on your Bible reading. Something worth hanging on to!
Ash Gibson, Pastor Christchurch Xscape