What Has Changed In Your Life During the Quarantine?
By AL EARLEY
Last Sunday our church reopened for its first public worship service since March 15. That is nine weeks with a small crew of people preaching, praying, and singing for Internet Church. We plan to continue Internet Church permanently. But a lot has changed in my life since then. These are changes I not only want to continue, but God has pretty much demanded I obey. So I am motivated. Have you made any changes in your life these last nine weeks that you want to continue?
For me, when the quarantine began I had a lot of trouble getting into a rhythm of working from home and not meeting and being with people. It seemed simple enough when I planned my week. Make phone calls instead of visits. Make Zoom calls instead of meetings. Work from home more and the office rarely. Write sermons and prepare for Internet Church. I should have time to get my prayer life in order because I should have more time working from home.
I was motivated because I was having trouble with my knee, and in prayer with others God made it clear that my knee problems were spiritual, not medical. God had been showing me how He wanted me to pray for years, and I had only gone halfway. God was tired of halfway, and He knew me well enough to know some physical discomfort might move me to be obedient.
Some Biblical examples of this include Psalm 119:71, “It was good for me to be afflicted, so that I might learn your decrees. Paul quotes Proverbs 3:11-12 when he writes in Hebrews 12:6-7, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” God’s most important desire with us is a strong relationship, not our comfort.
Early in the quarantine period I cleaned up the area I had let get cluttered that was supposed to be my prayer room. I organized my prayer book and journal and was ready for my first Monday morning to begin the prayer life God had shown me He wanted from me. He wanted me to start on my knees, barefoot, praising Him in song. The barefoot part goes to Exodus 3:5 when God tells Moses to take off his sandals, he was standing on holy ground. God had shown me that if He didn’t want Moses to have ¼ inch of leather between he and God, God wanted me that humble as well.
It was a good prayer time. I felt closer to God and my knee started to hurt less. I was good for about four days, then got a bit lazy and rebellious and started missing a day here or there, or cutting my time short. One Friday morning I had completely neglected praying at all for no good reason. My knee hurt bad, and it was the only day I could mow grass before the rains came back. I fell on my knees for a short time, praised God for the time I thought was long enough, and hobbled through mowing the grass.
I was at church the next Sunday and my knee throbbed in pain just before the live-stream worship service. I had a moment to pray and asked God why my knee hurt so bad. I heard His gentle whisper to my soul, “Remember Friday, I don’t like it when you try to manipulate Me with your prayers.” That is all He needed to say to me. Since then my prayer life has been all God has desired and He has rewarded me richly. It has been the most important thing that has happened to me during this time of quarantine.
What about you? What did God do with you during this time of quarantine? Is your prayer life stronger? Does your family spend more time together? Are you taking better care of yourself mind, body, and soul? What habits do you want to keep as life becomes fast paced and “normal” again? What changes will you need to make to keep those changes in place? (To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, www.lagrangepres.org).