Right now, it seems that the only safe places are in our homes or out on a hiking trail where the air is fresh and the people are few. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit our country and the world in unprecedented ways that most of us have never experienced in our lifetime. In recent days, international travel restrictions have been put in place, non-essential travel across the Canadian and Mexican borders has been restricted and many states have enacted “statewide stay at home orders” and “closure of all non-essential retail business.” Needless to say, this feels somewhat like being trapped in a movie where the world is ending.
It’s hard to believe that I recently returned from a trip to Austria. I was traveling for a week in Linz and Salzburg with six ladies from my church. As the trip got closer, I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous to go especially after hearing how hard Italy was getting hit with COVID-19.
But we trusted that God had plans for us, and so we obeyed the Great Commission to spread the Gospel into all the world (Matthew 28: 18-20). The trip was amazing! We made wonderful new friends through the two churches where we hosted women’s events (of 35-60 people; something that we couldn’t have done if the trip had been a week later).
And we visited with refugees in their homes where we heard their incredible stories of leaving their home country for a better life (and in many cases how they found their faith in Christ through that process). In all that we did, I truly felt God showing us His grace and love for the WORLD (John 3:16).
It’s hard to explain, but these trips truly open your eyes to what’s important. They change you in ways that only the people on the trip with you can really truly understand.
And now I’m home where the world has literally been flipped on its head. Since coming back from Europe, I have been working from home. I have stayed sane by building more walks/runs into my day and thinking about what all of this means. As all of us try to do our part in “social distancing” to “bend the curve” of this awful virus, I am hoping that it also brings us closer as a nation and a world. Whatever you believe at the end of the day, I think that this pandemic we are experiencing will and should change our way of life for the better. Yes, it is awful…people are sick and dying. Healthcare workers and government leaders are working around the clock doing their best to save lives and stop the outbreak dead in its tracks. The economy is suffering. People are losing jobs and scared about the future. There is talk about another recession (or depression) right around the corner. But for all the doom and gloom, we MUST believe in the good that is still intact and appreciate what is truly important in our lives. I choose to believe that God is in control.
As I end this blog piece that really had nothing to do with running or fitness, I want to follow the admonition from James 5: 13-16 to pray for healing for the sick. I urge you to join me for a 14-day prayer challenge to combat COVID-19. Starting tomorrow, WILL YOU COMMIT TO PRAY FOR THIS WORLD everyday at 12 pm EDT (or anywhere in the world you are located)? If so, please leave a “YES, I’m praying” comment, and I’ll post a reminder each day on Instagram/Facebook.
Encounters with God are God-sized. Let’s show the world that He is working in our lives and will protect us from pestilence. Let’s DO THIS! And in the meantime, I’m sending YOU a virtual hug!
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Psalm 91: 1-2