A Message of Comfort During the COVID Crisis
When faced with enormous uncertainty and a nation in crisis, Jeremiah received this word of comfort from the Lord… “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11). Good words that we all need to hear right now.
“There is Nothing Planned for the Rest of This Day”
“Alexa, let’s do this!” These are the words which prompt my Alexa morning routine at home. The kids chuckle as I struggle with technology sometimes, but Alexa and I have become buddies, and this morning routine is great. As soon as I switch off my alarm clock, I prompt her and she kicks into action. She tells me the date, the weather, some fun fact about this date in history and she reads off my schedule for the day, and then starts playing my, “Get Your Lazy Self Up and Going!” play list.
I use the Google calendar to keep up with my children’s extra curricular activities, our appointments, get togethers with friends and most definitely our busy church activity calendar which the kids and I look forward to every week.
But this week Alexa has given me a little shock every morning.
Monday- “There is nothing planned for the rest of this day.”
Tuesday- “There is nothing planned for the rest of this day.”
Wednesday… more nothing.
I’m watching the news like everyone else. I’m aware of our current crisis situation. For some reason, though, when I’m laying in bed, still kind of half asleep, in that spot where reality hasn’t all come whooshing back just yet, hearing these words really breaks my heart.
This is the reality for most of us right now. Our schools, and in many cases work, have been switched home. Our hobbies and sports have been put on hold. Our favorite hangouts, locked up. And even the sacred space of our churches is now, in most cases, off limits.
I know there might be a small percentage of church goers who didn’t really mind the churches switching to live streaming services. Maybe they were not heartbroken when they learned that they wouldn’t be expected at Sunday School. Maybe they said, “Well, it is what it is,” as they deleted youth night Fridays, and youth Wednesday Bible classes out of their Google calendar.
But, I’m not writing to those folks this morning. They can enjoy their “vacation” from church if they like. I’m writing to the leaders who felt totally empty Wednesday night when they couldn’t meet with their kids. I’m writing to the Sunday School teachers who were disappointed they couldn’t share their new craft with their class Sunday morning. I’m writing to the ministers who are worrying about how kids, who were just now showing an interest in coming to Bible study, are going to handle weeks without any church interaction. I’m writing to the bus ministry workers and community outreach workers who are fretting over at-risk children who are now stuck at home with un-churched family members who will not once show that child the love of Christ during this time. I’m writing to the children’s church pastors praying hard for kids who were just about ready to give their lives to Christ before they were sent home to social distance. I’m writing to all the church workers who are broken and sad that our schedules are not packed this week with lesson planning and church activities.
I want to encourage you, as I’m trying to encourage myself, to use this time (time is definitely something we have plenty of) to renew your prayer life for the kids you minister to. I want to challenge you to take a time of fasting, not only for our country and world, but specifically for the kids in your classes and ministries.
The COVID crisis is going to have a long-standing effect on these kids. How is it affecting their faith? What are they doing to fill these empty hours? How is Satan going to use this perfect combination of fear and idle time to attack their minds? Pray! Pray! Pray!
I also want to encourage you to remember this did not take God by surprise. We serve a Sovereign God. That may be a little hard to swallow for some during a time like this, but it is actually a great comfort. Our good God knows exactly why this is here, what its purpose is, and how He can use it for good. Romans 8:28 reminds us that “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We can take great comfort in these truths.
Maybe we cannot physically meet with our kids right now. Maybe we can’t share a fun craft, or a cool game in person, but there is much we can still do. I want to encourage you to communicate with these kids if you can. Keep in touch. Start group chats for your kids or for specific classes. Put up devotional videos. Live stream your classes. Create challenges to keep your students’ minds occupied. Start a Bible memory contest with great prizes to be given out when we can all meet up again. Get creative.
Keeping yourself an active part of your kids’ lives during this difficult time will both cheer your heart as well as help keep your kids’ minds focused on God during these days.
We appreciate all of the teachers, children’s ministers and parents that follow Sunday School Zone and use our free resources. We love you, and we are praying for you during these unsettling times.
You can see all of the articles by Sarah on Sunday School Zone.