Whether you’re in the camp who’s grown weary of waiting out this season of quarantine, or you’re one of us who have gotten comfortable wearing yoga pants and showering infrequently, most of us would agree that life at home feels smaller than when we were out in the world every day.
But God’s big plans haven’t stalled while we’ve been stuck at home.
Even if life has been feeling small and cramped lately, we can still celebrate the big things God is doing. And just as His people have done for ages, we can prepare without holding back.
In the time of Isaiah, God directed his people to get ready. He was going to cause tremendous growth in their numbers, so many that they were going to need a bigger tent.
God asked them to prepare by stretching and strengthening even when there was no outward sign that anything special was about to happen. He assured them that they had good reasons to “burst into song and shout for joy” even while to the rest of the world, they looked as barren as a childless woman.
God has always promised to care for and keep His people.
Our faith is built on the certainty of God’s promises. So even when we can’t see a way through, around, or out of the barren wilderness, we can have faith that good things are coming.
But most of us avoid stretching, reaching and extending. It’s uncomfortable and usually inconvenient. And for the past year, we’ve been given permission, in fact, a directive, to do the opposite of stretching and expanding our lives. We’ve been living in a time when we’re told to shrink down to fit our lives inside our homes and into a smaller and smaller circle of people.
This is compounded by another human tendency to shrink back when we face difficulties. Often, we let fear take over, and we back off or let up in the face of hardship. We tell ourselves it’s only for a season, but the fear can have a lasting impact on our confidence. And fear has been spread like butter on toast this past year.
Our instinct to hunker down in difficult times even has a new and catchy tagline: Stay home. Stay safe.
Even in COVID times, we are called to reach out and extend God’s love and Good News to those who are hungry for hope.
How do we do that from the safety of our homes? First, we’ve got to spend time in God’s word. For it’s here we find the promises we know we can count on. Promises made by our faithful and everlasting God. Then, we can pray and ask God to give us creative ideas for ways to stay connected to the “outside world” and opportunities to put those ideas into practice.
While you may be feeling small, weak, weary, or even downright discouraged, we still have good reason to rejoice. Even in this time of stillness, God is calling His people to grow and stretch and prepare for the abundant blessings He has in store. Because in all the days of quarantine and hunkering down, God has never stopped working to rescue the lost and establish His Kingdom.
He needs us now more than ever to throw open our hearts and lives for the many who are seeking answers and hope. We’ve got to expand our dwellings, strengthen the tent pegs and be ready for our lives to hold so much more.
God is leading us, even while we wait.
He’s leading us into a wide-open space where we are to reach out, inviting and welcoming others in so they too can experience the transforming power of His love. I don’t think He wants us to wait another minute to tell hurting hearts that there is hope and a future beyond this present struggle.
Maybe like me, you’re ready to start stretching your spiritual muscles and reaching out beyond the confines of quarantine. Because we’ve got a victory parade to prepare for. And we can get ready, even while we wait, unshowered and in our yoga pants.
But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere.
(2 Cor 2:14)