By Billy Walker
In elementary school I learned a song with the following catchy lyrics: “Stop, look, and listen, before you cross the street. Use your eyes, use your ears, then use your feet.”
This easy-to-remember song was intended to help kids who were walking to and from school—back when that was more of a thing.
This simple tune actually contains scriptural and practical advice that can help us as we move to the other side of this pandemic.
If today’s pandemic was written in biblical language, it might begin with, “In the days of quarantine…”
Like everyone else, I wasn’t prepared for hitting the pause button on life as we know it, but there can be no doubt God has worked and still works through moments when we’re required to wait in place.
Think of Noah building the ark, Joseph in prison, Moses in Midian, and David as a shepherd in the fields. These periods of isolation prepared people for what God was about to do. Even Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry, went away to be alone for 40 days.
Sometimes theses “pauses” in life were a choice. At other times, the people who entered into them had no alternative.
For the most part, we don’t like change—unless it comes by our choice. There are times, however, when change is forced upon us.
During World War II, curfews, rolling blackouts, and rations for food and gas became a way of life most people didn’t choose, but they realized the necessity of such restrictions.
After 9/11, there was no more meeting your family at their arrival gate or getting to the airport 30 minutes before takeoff. Metal detectors and bag checks became the norm at theaters, concert venues, and stadiums. Again, while not a personal preference, change had to occur.
So, what changes will happen because of coronavirus? Rather than think about how this is an attack on your personal freedoms, think about the global church, your local church, and you.
Why did God put a stop to life as we know it? Are there lessons He wants us to learn? Perhaps part of the reason for this time of waiting is for us to engage in the spiritual disciplines we often claim we don’t have time for.
Moses saw a burning bush. The Israelites saw the plagues converge on Egypt. Daniel saw what was to come. Elisha saw the mountains filled with angelic warriors. What does God want us to see through this pandemic?
God is moving the church forward—even through difficult days. The online service that we use to livestream our gatherings has seen many people express a desire to follow Christ since the beginning of stay-at-home orders and guidelines.
And that’s just one platform. We’ve had viewers and have even received gifts from across the country as the weeks have turned into months. This type of ministry wasn’t even on our radar at the beginning of 2020, but it was always on the mind of God.
What does He want you to see?
1 Kings 19:12 says, “and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a still small voice.”
Could it be God had to stop the merry-go-round of our lives in order for us to listen to Him?
There’s often a high volume of disagreement shared on social media, even within our own evangelical circles. That’s what people hear day-in and day-out. We live in a world that often celebrates the one with the loudest voice.
But it’s in moments of stillness that God often speaks the loudest.
4. Use your feet
This is the ending to the catchy kids lyric, and it carries some serious spiritual weight. What’s the one question that’s being asked by everyone in the entire world right now—including you and me?
“When we will get back to normal?”
I think you would agree that God has no desire for us to go back; He’s looking for us to move forward. God is a merciful, loving God, but check out what happens in Exodus and Numbers when the children of Israel talk about going back: the Lord won’t have it.
I definitely believe God is using it this pandemic. He’s using it to get our attention, to reprioritize our lives, to focus on our families, and to invigorate our ministries.
He’s using it to speak to us, if we’ll only listen. And He’s using it to prepare us for an incredible wave of blessing and revival in our nation and around the world.
Don’t let this pandemic go to waste.
BILLY WALKER (@billyhwalker) is a third generation pastor of Calvary Church in Southgate, Michigan. He’s vice president of the Billy Walker Evangelistic Association and is president of the Pastor’s Conference for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan.