Vignette 1 – Gary and I decided to venture out to our favorite grocery store. You could say our experience was adventurous. Upon arriving to the store, we noted the full parking lot and line of people snaking around the building. Each person stood on a tape marked line on the asphalt assuring the required “social distance” of 6 feet. We waited in line almost 15 minutes to enter the building. Although we purchased most of what we needed, we were unable to find napkins at this store. So, we visited two more stores before obtaining this necessary kitchen product.
Vignette 2 – Not long ago, after running a few errands with Sophie, we each used lysol wipes to clean our hands. Sophie exclaimed, “I may not die from COVID 19, but I’ll probably die from the chemicals in this wipe.”
Vignette 3 – During conversations with friends with school aged kids, moms wearily describe their efforts to juggle everyone’s at-home schedule. For many getting into a rhythm feels impossible and a running list of to do items fills their heads: meal preparation and clean up, house cleaning, zoom meetings for work, google meetings for school, homework, ministry commitments, helping kids connect with their friends via FaceTime, postponing appointments, grocery shopping, etc. Numerous women feel inadequate, unable to be a spouse, employee, mom, neighbor, and friend effectively.
Vignette 4 – Several others encounter work shifting. For some the work load doubled, so the job beckons 24 hours a day. Living a balanced life seems unattainable as needs and demands increase. For others work decreased or stopped. Discovering productive ways to spend days now unoccupied proves challenging causing some to questions their purpose and contribution into society.
Ramifications – a consequence of an action or event, especially when complex or unwelcome.
Ramifications abound from the worldwide concern and protective measures governments impose to address COVID19. The gap between the rich and poor widens. Those with workaholic tendencies work harder and longer. Ideas of leisure, rest, and connection allude many in today’s culture and yet attitudes of entitlement, apathy, and discontent deepen among others. For some family time increased, while for others family time evaporated. Travel, community gatherings, and church services adjust to accommodate governmental regulations.
Who knew these and many more ramifications would follow the COVID19 outbreak?! Only God. The God of the universe was neither taken by surprise by the outbreak nor unaware of the accompanying consequences.
The Bible overflows with examples of both negative and positive ramifications for thoughts, actions, and attitudes played out by people. There are at least 25 verses in Scripture that point to outcomes from decisions made and actions taken. Sometimes the consequences are due to the choices of other people such as when all of Israel experienced discipline due to the fear of the 10 spies (see Numbers 13-14) or, on a positive note, when all of Cornelius’ home was saved (see Acts 10). In other instances consequences follow personal resolutions such as when David took Bathsheba even though she was married (see 2 Samuel 11-12) or when Sapphira chose to lie about the gift she and her husband laid at the apostles feet (see Acts 5).
My favorite example of noticing ramifications in Scripture comes from Jesus. His perfect life, sacrifice, and resurrection brought defeat to death and sin as well as the opportunity to receive God’s invitation to eternal life with His transforming movement within our lives. Wow! Could anything better than this positive outcome carried out by the sovereign plan of God?!
Although we each experience unwelcome consequences from this worldwide pandemic, I wonder what positive ramifications we might engage. Unfortunately, it might feel easier to point out what is different, uncomfortable, frustrating, and confusing about today. These negative thoughts and attitudes often simmer in our minds and roll off our lips. But, what if we intentionally looked for the redemptive aspects of COVID19 and let those flow into our conversations?
How can this current season bring positive changes physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually to our lives?
Possible ramifications might be:
- Capacity to receive the steadfast love of God
- Homemade family dinners
- More outdoor activity
- Opportunity for disordered attachments (idols) to rise to the surface
- Space to discover identity in Christ alone
- Strength to overcome temptations of pride, control, selfishness
- Creativity in connecting with distant friends and family
- Occasions to reflect with God
- Moments to study the Bible
- Deeper prayer connections with God
- Time to develop new spiritual rhythms
- Grace to practice the fruit of the Spirit
- Options to explore new hobbies
- Conditions for authentic healing conversation
Take a moment to identify at least three positive outcomes you experience because of COVID19. What are they? If you find yourself struggling to discern three ramifications, ask God to help you become aware of the good He desires for you during this season. Share with a family member, friend, or neighbor the constructive elements of COVID19.
Encourage one another to attune to God’s work in and around you for your benefit and God’s glory. Notice the beneficial ramifications of this season and thank God.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
James W. Moore. Seizing the Moments: Making the Most of Life’s Opportunities. Nashville, TN. 2001
Os Guinness. Carpe Diem Redeemed: Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times. Westmont, IL. 2019.
Sprinklings of truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Fernando Ortega. This Good Day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7nZVtZFE0A
Owl City. My Everything. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbOcVER0WqU