Every week we get a midweek email from our home church in the states, Harpeth Hills, and it usually has a note from the preaching minister. His name is Chris and I always love his notes. I love them because he just shoots straight. We got a note about a month ago that I believe pretty much sums up how some of our coronavirus days can be. He shared about a friend of his walking on the street one night just praising God and the next minute he was losing his mind at his dog who had escaped the garage. Sound familiar? It hit me in the face pretty good when I read it because I’ve definitely had days like that since we’ve been locked into our house for the past two months.
But, if I just take a step back and take a deep breath, I can definitely see God doing something in the coronavirus madness.
Like bringing a healthy new baby girl into the lives of our daughter Bronwyn and her husband Stephen. Her name is Winifred – “Winnie”- and even though I am six thousand miles away I can tell you for a fact that she is awesome.
Like seeing our daughter Ansley and her husband Will get a new baby, Lucy, a dog rescued from Porto Rico.
Like seeing our son Garrett graduate from the University of Memphis.
Like seeing our daughter Carys getting accepted to nursing school.
Like having regular workout times and runs with our son Anderson that would rarely be able to happen in our normal, busy life before coronavirus.
Like playing UNO, Battleship and memory games with Giovanni.
Like riding bikes together as a family on empty streets.
Like playing the guitar while Benay plays the keyboard and trying to learn a song together.
Like doing a devo at lunchtime every day as a family.
Like watching a tv show with Benay that we’ve never heard of before and quickly getting addicted.
Like doing a devotional every week with two brothers, one here and one in the United States, that I love dearly. These devos are changing us.
Like using zoom to pray with some brothers from Harpeth Hills, and one brother from Ghana, weekly. It’s blessing me more than they know.
Like seeing my wife pray online Monday-Friday with some women from our church.
Like Benay and I starting an online Bible study with one of my closest friends and his wife, from Rio, after walking with them for eighteen years.
Like having zoom calls with our parents and kids and nephews and nieces and seeing everyone smiling and laughing.
Like seeing Benay start an online Bible study with some women who were a part of the church we helped to plant in 2002 but have since stopped going to any church. Hearing them say they want to visit our church when we are able to meet again.
Like watching our church load up our car with food and clothes for us to take to the rehab farm we work at and doing it often.
Like being presented, by God, with a new ministry opportunity at the rehab farm that just fits perfectly with Hope House and watching Him provide a ministry team that feels led to join us.
Like having our worship band leader and his wife come to our apartment, unannounced, just to serenade us from the street.
Like having our pastor and his wife show up, unannounced, to bring us a note, a bag of chocolates and then pray over us, through the fence, to thank us for being leaders of a ministry in our church.
Like having teachers from Giovanni’s school show up, unannounced, to bring him a book and a note letting him know how much they miss seeing him and how much he’s loved.
Like seeing my wife bake cookies for every family in our apartment building.
Like having people who have never been a part of a church family or who have been away for a long time asking us for the link to our church’s worship service every Sunday.
Like seeing people donate money, time and food to a neighborhood restaurant so that a hot meal can be delivered to people living in the streets every day. So far they’ve passed out over three thousand meals.
Like seeing the joy in Benay’s face as we have been able to fix up our apartment. Something she’s been wanting to do for the nine years we’ve lived here, but have been unable to do so until now.
Like seeing our church family continuing to financially bless missionaries, widows and people addicted to drugs and alcohol during this terrible time.
Like meeting online with our cell group every week and seeing their smiling faces and hearing how much that brief time together means to them.
Like seeing people greet each other on the streets as they walk by.
Like having our sister in Christ, Clarice, who is a doctor in Rio, opening up a field hospital dedicated to coronavirus patients.
Like our former teammate, Leslie, volunteering to work at the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital for coronavirus patients in New York City.
Like having our family, Alexandre, Dani and their girls, come to our apartment today to bring winter clothes and tons of food to donate to our church and rehab farm. So much stuff it completely filled up the big trunk in our car.
Like having one of Garrett’s best friends stand at our front gate and talk to us about spiritual things.
Like having good, real stuff talks with one of Ansley’s best buddies from high school.
Like having time to read a book.
Like realizing how good it is to slow down and just sit with God.
Wow. I started this thought with just a few things on my mind to share. Once I started God kept reminding me of just how much He is doing in the middle of all this. He’s right here, like always, in the madness and He’s working. Man is He working!
Will I yell at my dog over the next few days or have a jerk moment with my family? Probably. Ok, more than likely that will happen. These are stressful times. Life isn’t normal right now.
But maybe in the craziness we can allow God to open our spiritual eyes. It’s been something He’s been dying to do for a while now. Maybe we needed this madness, this upside down world to do just that…….let it turn us upside down. Honestly, that’s the way Jesus lived. His teachings turned everything on it’s ear. He turned everything on it’s ear.
As His church He’s giving us a shake. He’s waking us up to be what He’s always wanted us to be.
What would that look like in your life?
Why don’t you let Him tell you, then go do it.