You may recall that in one of my earlier Nuggets, I mentioned the story of young twin brothers who were placed in a room. The intent was to observe how each responded to his current environment. The room of one brother contained every desired toy a young boy might enjoy, e.g., video games, action figures, miniature tablets, etc. During his time spent in the room, he avoided handling or playing with any of the toys or games for fear of breaking one.
Ten minutes later, his brother was placed alone in the same room except for one difference--his room contained only a pile of “sterilized” manure. After a few seconds, the young boy reacted by jumping into the mess with both feet and began digging. When his ten minutes room-experience was finished, he responded to the adult question of why he was digging. With child-like faith, he replied, “With all that manure, there had to be a pony in there somewhere!”
The current world situation may look like a pile of manure. But if you know anything about the smelly animal waste (unsterilized), you know it’s used as a fertilizer in producing some of the foods we eat. It adds nutrients to the soil and produces a type of food (fungi and bacteria) that creates a chain of life. Like the little boy, having faith to believe something good is in something dirty will guide us in a change in our attitude toward the present, unexpected happening.
When his enemies surrounded the prophet Elisha, his servant was afraid they were going to die. But Elisha, with great confidence, responded, “Have no fear. There are more on our side than on theirs.” (2 Kings 6:15-16) Not only didn’t they die, but due to the miraculous intervention of God, his enemies never attacked him or Israel again.
I read that someone recently made the statement, “I want my life back.” But in case they have not noticed, they still have their life. They were able to make this statement, stand under their own strength, were not in a hospital, and were able to move around with no assistance, and more. It is time to move on.
Consider how many people who, even when the situation returns to “normal,” will never have the opportunity to take pleasure in the freedom many of us take for granted. Even though you may have to make alterations in the directions for your life journey, keep moving forward rather than trying to get it back.
Having taken care of at least three critically ill persons, I know there would not have been the slightest hesitation from any one of them if they had an opportunity to reverse their medical situation and return to a quality of life that contained a temporary manure pasture.
The technology of today is amazing! We all have been blessed by it, even though we may not all have had the opportunity to participate in virtual events. Our students will continue their education, and some of us will keep our jobs by working at home. We can shop and purchase almost anything online, talk to people living thousands of miles away and to friends or family who may be in nursing care homes or other medical facilities by video. We keep our faith strong through video streamed church services.
Permit me to share a couple of thoughts for changing your attitude about the current situation:
Your life (without your permission) has taken a different turn, and the circumstances may not instantly improve. But thank you for being who you are and for being here with me during this challenging event. Now is the time to take a bold step to change your attitude. I guarantee that step will change your life.
In the past week, the amount of noise (yes, I said noise), overloading my email, television, and radio about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been heavier and louder than a freight train carrying 18,000 tons of cargo. I call it noise because the information can be confusing, abrasive, and noticeably unpleasant.
To survive this assault to our senses requires a paradigm shift from the message of fear (false evidence appearing real) to unwavering faith that someone with greater intellect than humankind is handling the situation.
The number of negatives is as numerous as ants finding that open bag of sugar in your cupboard. But in an everyday scenario, let’s take a stroll down the sidewalk of positives.
Let’s start with the weather. We are just ending the winter season where I live, which means we are getting rain. Some parts of the country are cool or cold, and in a lot of places, there’s still snow. But what if this were happening during the summer when the humidity can seem like a gazillion and people are continually sweating with limited options for staying cool. I can only imagine!
Next, look at the opportunities to be able to do some things you have pushed to the back burner. For example, spending time with your family and friends, (within “distancing’ guidelines) riding your bike, reading a book, getting more sleep, having more time to prepare unprocessed meals, taking some online classes to upgrade your future or learning a new language. Also, don’t forget to give a big shout out for having time to put a dent in the infamous pile of paper, including magazines, and other miscellaneous publications that have been accumulating on a table or counter for (fill in the blank).
And what about all the hygiene measures we skated over? I regularly washed my hands but never sang the happy birthday tune twice (20 seconds) as my stopwatch to make sure they were clean. I guess, many people are just learning about hand sanitizer and wipes since the shelves in the stores for these items are bare. Finally, we have begun to be more sensitive to and to take more seriously the messages about cleaning our eating areas and counters and staying home when we have a cold or cold-related cough.
This uncomfortable situation is temporary “for a season.” There may not be a micro-wave solution, but this too shall pass. We are a blessed country (“In God We Trust”), and we always bounce back. The Bible is filled with near misses of doom, in both Old and New Testaments.
There’s a long list of the perils of the apostle, Paul. He was stoned, beaten, bitten by a deadly snake, shipwrecked, hungry, thirsty, cold, naked, homeless, and persecuted. He survived all those things and much more. Having complete faith in God, he wrote, “The Lord rescued me from out of them all.” (2 Timothy 3:11) The fruits of his rescue resulted in his establishment of several churches and writing an estimated one-third of the New Testament.
In the Old Testament, through the story of Joseph, I am reminded of the world’s current situation. Jealousy inspired Joseph’s brothers to come up with a plot to kill him and throw him into a pit. Over time, Joseph was sold twice, accused of adultery by his employer’s wife, and placed in prison. However, after several stormy years, Joseph was restored by Pharaoh and placed second in command over Egypt. Like a CFO, Joseph’s shrewd financial actions over Egypt put him in a position where he was able to save the entire land from famine. (Genesis 39-45)
We don’t know why COVID-19 is knocking at our door, but here are my unscientific observations that look beyond the obvious:
Joseph believed the circumstances of his life occurred so that God could ensure the survival of his family. (Genesis 45:7-8) The evil deeds carried out by his brothers were designed to kill him. The results turned out to be good for a greater number of people.
When this season is over, I look forward to sharing with you my excitement over all the good that occurred. In the meantime, don’t watch monster movies and other scary, useless things. DO, pray, laugh, pour out love on your family, encourage others, take a walk, and wash your hands!