Be Honest…Are You Complaining or Learning?
Author: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
When Covid -19 made its impact here in America the impact did not hit people right away. Most people had a passive response believing it would simply come and go without any major interruptions in life.
How wrong we were.
Life has changed dramatically for almost everyone. We live inside our homes. Schools are closed. Senior commencements postponed. Businesses have had to completely alter how they do business. Some businesses have closed completely. Churches have gone to an online format – if online capabilities are even possible. Social media fighting has probably reached an all-time high. People are divided on every aspect of this Covid issue.
We are living in a very bad time in our nation. This is a warning from God. But don’t take my word for it, the late Billy Graham says the same thing in his book, Storm Warning. God gives many warnings to His people so that we have the chance to correct bad behavior. We have the chance to escape dangers. As Graham stated, many, many people ignore the warnings of God to their own detriment.
Proverbs 19:20 “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
Yes, we are living in a bad time right now, but how are we responding to it? Are angry, mad, and scared? Or are we seeking God’s wisdom right now. Are we asking for His guidance? Is there something to learn?
I believe so.
Near the end of his life, Solomon uttered these words; “Meaningless, Meaningless! says the teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does a man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:3
Solomon was a man who had everything, power, fame, riches, honor, reputation and wisdom, – yet he knew the emptiness of what the world had to offer. We find ourselves right now in a battle to get back to the emptiness of this world – while being blinded by what God is trying to teach us. Are you listening with open ears? Are you listening with an open heart? Are you learning and growing right now?
Here are three things I am learning during Covid-19.
Proverbs 1:1-7 “for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and fair;
- God is in Control
When Covid-19 started to make an impact in America in mid-March there was a certain pattern in the way the media reported information. Did anyone notice that? Every day it was one breaking high-profile story after the other. The NCAA canceled their season. The NBA postponed their season. Two NBA basketball players were tested positive for Covid. Two high profile actors tested positive for Covid. It was one major story which sent people into a scurry; running into to the stores grabbing food by the hordes in fear for the lives. It was amazing to see!
While the virus is not something to take lightly and it’s not something we need to ignore – people forgot one major point…
God is in control of everything.
Proverbs 1:7 says; The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and disciple.” When we are faced with events such as this current pandemic we need to be wise. Not foolish. We need to trust God. No person on this earth has more power than God. No virus has more power than God. Whatever is happening in our nation right now with this virus, God knows about it and is in control.
It doesn’t mean we ignore the warnings. It doesn’t mean we don’t properly prepare and do all we can to keep our family safe. It means we seek God’s wisdom in all situations because ultimatley He is in control of what is happening here. When people react with fear and panic, it puts fear and panic in others – especially children who will grow up afraid rather than seeking God. But when people are calm and seek God – it helps others to do the same.
If you don’t believe God is in control with this pandemic then you don’t believe the Bible and therefore, you are wasting your time reading it.
Look at what God did in Joshua 10. Joshua 10:13 “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped till the nation avenged itself on its enemies. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down a full day.”
God made the sun stand still to give Joshua and his army victory.
Look at how Jesus rebuked the wind during the storm. Luke 8:24 “The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown! When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm.”
The Bible is not a book of fairy tales to encourage us. The Bible is God’s spoken Word of real events in our history so that we can learn more about the nature of God.
God is in control of Covid-19. He knows what is happening right now and is not surprised by it.
- Don’t Simply Get Through This…
At first, I simply wanted this to be over so life could return to normal. However, because I now have so much more time to think and reflect; I realize there is a good reason this is all happening. We are too busy as a society. We have the capacities to jungle, and keep going, and most of us are great at it – but we don’t stop long enough to let God speak to us.
I’m sure many of us do our best as believers to live honorably for God, but let’s be honest, we can all do better!
Proverbs 1:20 says “Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares.”
Wisdom teaches, corrects, and seeks to bring listeners into a relationship with God. Can you honestly say there weren’t many things you needed to change about your life before Covid-19, but you kept putting it off? Can you honestly say you weren’t too busy?
On Sunday mornings, which is supposed to be a great day of worship to the Lord, our family never even ate breakfast because we had to run out of the house so early to be at church to serve. We were at church for almost the entire day. Yes, we woke up early to study our Bible and pray every Sunday, but our entire day was non-stop until almost eight in the evening.
That was not okay. And it likely would not have changed had it not been for Covid-19.
There is nothing wrong with being servants of the church. But there is something wrong when it’s overload. Maybe we overload our lives because we have not yet found who we are. We do a lot to help because it makes us feel important. Brennan Manning says the same thing in book, Posers, Fakers & Wannabes. Solitude helps us learn who we are, and maybe slowing down and solitude is exactly what we need right now.
Are you trying to get through this situation or are you seeking God’s wisdom to lead you and guide you through changes you need to make in your life?
3. Value Life
Be honest, you probably spent a lot of time complaining about life. We all did. We complained about our jobs, and now some of us have lost our jobs, or work from home. We now miss our jobs or miss going to work.
We complained about certain aspects of our jobs which we now miss. We complained about schoolteachers, and never gave them the benefit of the doubt. We complained about taking our children to get haircuts or taking them to soccer practice.
These things are now gone.
And we miss them.
It’s hard to believe the last Wednesday evening at church was mid-March. We were saying goodbye to everyone for what we thought was a week for spring break. We haven’t been back.
I have to go into work from time to time. My office area is right outside the children’s area which houses an indoor play structure and cafe open to the community. That entire side of the building once had children and parents enjoying their time there all day long – and it’s now nothing more than a quiet empty space with no life.
Sure, it was very loud and drove people crazy at times, but it was a wonderful community outreach our church offered which we now miss.
I enjoy what God is teaching me right now. I enjoy what I am learning but I also miss what I took for granted.
“Knowing that one needs wisdom is the first sign of having it.”
We need God’s wisdom every day – all day – to appreciate and value the life He gives us.
There is so much to be happy about all the time. However, we choose to overload our lives. We choose to look at the negative. We choose to make bad choices. I love the way Peter Scazzero says it in his book, The Emotional Healthy Leader, He helps us realize we can enjoy the end of one part of our life for a new beginning. That’s what this time in your life can right now – a new beginning of learning and growing through this Covid-19 situation by and valuing life.
We need God and His wisdom.
Wisdom is the fear of the Lord. When we humbly ask for God’s wisdom, we are in essence relinquishing our knowledge to God. We can sit on social media all day arguing with people and try to prove others wrong. But why? No one on this earth knows what is happening right now or why. Only God knows. So instead of being angry and upset because life has thrown us a curveball, seek God’s wisdom with all humility. Do more than simply get through this situation; rather, ask God to reveal Himself to you. Ask Him to teach you what only He can teach you – for your life.
Believe it or not, there is so much to be happy about right now. Choose God’s wisdom and enjoy this moment in history – with Him!
Proverbs 16:3 ‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS