Despite the inconveniences that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, we can be appreciative for some changes that it is effecting. I mean, Americans have been surviving mitigation efforts, self-isolation, quarantine, social distancing, stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders to flatten the curve and are now preparing for gating and phasing so the country can reopen. If anything, when this is over, we will all have a broadened vocabulary!

All joking aside, there has been a tidal wave of societal change because of COVID-19. These changes to our routines have been radical and unprecedented (a word I keep using about this entire situation). Such forced alterations to our otherwise hum-drum existence may produce outcomes for which we can be very appreciative.

What are some outcomes from the pandemic that we might be able to appreciate?

  • We can appreciate that social distancing and stay-at-home measures have stirred a desire for real-life, person-to-person connection.

Social media is incredibly disappointing. People subconsciously (had to) know this. People had to recognize how much better they felt after hosting “real” company in their homes rather than glutting themselves on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Yet, they kept choosing the virtual.

All of a sudden, however, when we can’t have actual interactions with actual people, we realize how much we miss/need it. This has certainly been true of churches. What regular church goer is enjoying the livestream in her living room more than being with people assembled together? I know no one currently.

I imagine that regular, church-going Christians aren’t the only ones longing for real, flesh-and-blood people to talk to. And, once the stay-at-home orders have been lifted, I believe people will fill the restaurants, coffee shops, and department stores again in order to satisfy that longing. It’ll be a “rush” of joy and appreciation for the opportunity. Churches will be more than negligent if they fail to reach out when people will be so open to human interaction.

  • We can appreciate the imagination and innovation that the Churches and Christian schools have been forced to use.

Let’s face it: it’s hard to get out of a rut even when we know we’re in one. We should do more outreach. We should try different things. We should be more tech savvy. Somehow we never get around to it. But the greatest challenges can drive the greatest innovation.

Now look! Churches are hosting drive-in services with FM transmitters just so they can gather! I can’t scroll two posts on my Facebook feed without seeing live services on Sundays and Wednesdays! Some pastors and evangelists have gone to posting something every single (cotton-picking!) day! All of a sudden we can’t help ourselves from trying all those things we knew we should, and even some we didn’t.

I wonder if this forced creative spark will light a fire of innovation among churches, Christian schools, and Bible colleges. Perhaps we’ll be doing more for the Gospel after this than we were doing before.

  • We can appreciate the general awareness that our country is different than we expected.

Prior to this pandemic, who would have imagined mandates and executive orders affecting Americans’ personal liberties and their livelihoods on this scale? Who could have fathomed the fiscally conservative party ponying up $2 Trillion dollars to pay citizens for staying home? There will be a lot of soul-searching about how comfortable we as Americans are with these developments, and others that could still be forthcoming.

Good. For too long, an uninformed electorate has gone to the polls voting their party rather than their priorities. Perhaps this very public demonstration of just how quickly and forcefully our government can move will rattle the citizens of our country to be more attentive to and more involved in a government that is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

  • We can really appreciate all that we took for granted prior to this pandemic.

Let’s be honest: we took so much for granted. The freedom to just get in your car and… go to town… or anywhere. Chatting with a friend or family member in a home or restaurant. A hug. A handshake. Full shelves at the grocery store. Toilet paper! The technology that we use (and abuse) everyday that has been a lifeline to so many isolated. A job. The privilege and ability to work. Teachers. Pastors. Church.

Should I keep going?

All these blessings we overlooked then, but sorely miss now. If we stopped and looked around, even in our quarantine we are a blessed people. How much more should we feel blessed when it all comes flooding back to us again?

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

First Thessalonians 5:18

Photo by Lee Cartledge on Unsplash

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