I remember watching “Hee-Haw” as a kid and thinking it was possibly the dumbest show that I had ever known of. After all these years, the only TV show that comes close is the “Masked Singer.” On that old show, “Hee-Haw,” they had a spoof song that went like this; “Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep, dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair and agony on me.”
It feels like that old song is appropriate for the anxiety riddled status of American today. It seems as though the overall attitude of the folks that I join on a Zoom call gets a bit more gloomy and lethargic as each sheltered in place day drags on. That’s perfectly understandable, but also unnecessary.
Do you ever wonder why Scripture tells us to count it all joy when we face various trials and tribulations in life?
James 1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Joy is different response to suffering. And yet our faith promises us that God is committed to doing good when the enemy intends harm.
God is committed to bringing life out of death.
Romans 4:17  That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
God is committed to taking every bad thing that happens to us and using it to bless us.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Friends, the President of the United States would love to get this economy back to full speed, and so do I. Your employer wants to return to business as usual, and so do I. Your schools cannot wait to return to class, and I think you’ll all agree with me, when I say, so do I. Everyone wants us to return to “NORMAL.”
But what if God, as only God can…what if He sees in our future the opportunity to be a part of a far “BETTER NORMAL?”
What if, in God’s power and His plan, He chooses to use this evil virus to take what was designed for evil and turns it into good? (see Romans 8:28 above) What if we, as individuals and our collective neighbors were to see this season of shelter in place as an opportunity to redirect our desires and wills and energy to align with God and His desires and will that are purposefully planned for our good?
I read these words from one of my favorite authors and bloggers, Terry Hershey: “While I’m waiting for “normal”, the sacred is still alive and well. And the ordinary is the hiding place of the holy. This is the life. Yes. And human connection is alive and well. Empathy and compassion are alive and well. Beauty and gladness are alive and well. Sanctuary is alive and well. Ministry is alive and well. Spontaneous gestures of kindness are alive and well. Music from the heart is alive and well.”
May our kindness and compassion rise to a collective crescendo and still come roaring back once a better normal is in place. May our sacred times with the Divine linger for our time on earth, as they are in the midst of sheltering in place. May our connection to our neighbors become like the Good Samaritan. May we each take up the call to serve one another, long past the crisis of Covid-19.