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Well people, it's been about a month since this pandemic started affecting us here. If you're wondering why you haven't heard anything from me on this topic yet, it's because I honestly thought this thing would be done and over by now. I seriously thought we would look back at this time as the toilet paper scare of 2020 and all have a good laugh (i was clearly wrong).

My initial thoughts were that these crazies need to calm the heck down. I know that's not the nicest perspective for people who have genuine fears, but you know I try to keep it real with ya'll and that's just how I felt.

When I realized that Washington state had been the starting point of the virus in the US and early on is where the majority of the fatal cases were, is when I really started to take this thing seriously. You see 90% of my family live there. In a quick moment, my reaction changed. I went from a nonchalant denial of what this could become to a reality that this could legitimately affect those I love the most. And not just in the inconvenient way that I can't leave my house or buy the things I want.

I have a grandfather who needs medical treatment from facilities in the heart of Seattle. I have a 96 year old grandmother with osteoporosis who refuses to stay put. I have a dad who is now out of work. I went from hardly caring what's going on to a place and moment of fear and worry.

We are all going through this together, but we are not all in the same boat. Same storm yes but different boats for sure. Pastor Stephen Furtick said, "Some people are going through this storm in a cruise liner while others are in a canoe." Some people are annoyed by the inconvenience of not having their late` and Doritos while others are trying to figure out how to pay their bills and feed their kids on their newly lost income while others are losing their businesses. Some people have genuine health issues that could severely be affected by exposure to a virus like this.

I now know that this is a serious thing and I was an idiot for laughing about it. I don't necessarily have a fear of myself dying because of it, but I do know that I need to take proper precautions to keep my family and loved ones safe because they don't all have the same immune system that I may have. I also know that acting in safety vs fear are not the same thing.

At this point in time, I wish our government would have acted quicker and took things more seriously. I wish we would have gone on full lockdown for the two weeks they're saying it takes for this thing to fully surface. But I am not a doctor or government official, so these thoughts quickly become me being the armchair quarterback of the pandemic. I can't control what everyone else does, but I can control what I do and how I react to everything that's going on.

So this is what I'm doing and not doing.

From a physical standpoint: I'm taking the proper precautions to keep my family safe. I'm not taking my daughter to any stores or parks. I'm washing and sanitizing the things I come in contact with that may have been exposed to the germs related to the virus. I'm washing my hands so much that my hands hurt. I'm not overbuying things to stock up out of fear, but am buying what I need to last and trying to minimize my trips out in public.

From a spiritual standpoint: I am choosing to focus on the plus side and not live in fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline

2 Timothy 1:7

God works all things for the good of those who love Him

Romans 8:28

Since this has happened, I have taken over my daughters education. Though it has been incredibly challenging and growing, I can see how beneficial the one-on-one time has been both developmentally for her but also relationally for the two of us. She's finally understanding areas of 1st grade reading that have been frustrating and even defeating to her on some degrees all year.

People who have been praying for rest or time with their families are finally getting that. I know several people who have had home projects they've been sitting on for years that are finally being completed. I believe that in this, marriages and families are being restored through the quality time they're being forced to spend together.

Though I don't believe sickness is from God, I do believe that He sometimes will use for good what the enemy meant for harm (like Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 50).

There's another example in Amos 4:6-11 where the Lord is telling the Israelites about all of the trials He allowed hoping they would turn back to Him, and can see some of that here too. Sometimes due to the sinfulness of the world, bad things happen. It's part of the curse that came with the fall of Adam and Even in the Garden. Though God is all powerful, He sometimes uses those things to redirect us back to Him. But God also gives us so many promises of what our life will be like when we do.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land"

Let's not be fearful during this time. Let us have faith that God has this all under His control and can and will turn it around. I don't have all the answers but I do have faith.

I pray for your safety and security during this time, and that you will rely on Him for your comfort. I pray that you will see restoration in your life and this will be a season of growth. I pray over your finances and that regardless of your situation, you will continue to be obedient in your tithing, knowing that the Lord will surely bless you in your faithfulness. I pray for spiritual healing and growth as well, and that you will have new and deeper encounters with the Lord. I pray over your prayer life and that you will not be distracted or discouraged but faithful and diligent to continue on regardless of what you feel or see around you.

I pray all of this in Jesus name. Amen

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