COVID-19. Coronavirus. Social distancing. Stay at home. Shelter at home…
The world has ground to a halt and everything – every news report, every conversation, sometimes every touch of our fingers and movement of our hands – is only one step removed from thoughts and fears of COVID-19.
Sometimes it seems all we think about is this virus. How to avoid it. How to protect ourselves. Where it’s at. How to go shopping. How many thousands are sick and dying. When it’s safe to go out. What we can do with ourselves when trapped inside. How to… it’s exhausting.
And it’s exhausting mentally and, as I’m quickly learning, exhausting physically too. It’s amazing to me how the mind being taxed so exhausts the body. I sat down to watch one of my favorite movies Monday night and… began to fight sleep in the middle of it. If you know me, you know that’s unheard of. That’s Roger Brown. That is not Kenny Brown.
Hm. It’s almost as if our brains are designed to obsess over whatever is most pressing. Whatever is most important to us at any given moment. It’s as if our minds are meant to focus on one thing, every day, every minute, anytime, all the time.
Some of you already see where I’m going! Our minds were designed by God to pray without ceasing; to focus on Him constantly; to abide in Him always; to think of Him in every news report, every conversation, every movement, every word, every thought. We are made to think about our Heavenly Father 24/7. We’re designed to glorify Him, worship Him, and think about Him.
So why is it so easy to think about other things first? A month ago it wasn’t a virus, but I betcha it was something, and it was something different for each of us. We toil and work and mull over things in our mind until that gray lump of neurons and tissue passes out from exhaustion and we fall asleep. Why do we put so much mental energy into other things? Why so much mental energy into thinking about this virus? Why do we still find it difficult to think about God first, last and every time in between?
Scripture offers an answer… and it’s incredible! In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
That means that focusing on God with every thought, word and action isn’t meant to be mentally exhausting. It means we only get mentally exhausted when we’re allowing our minds to focus on other things. God is in control, and if we focus on Him in faith, we have infinitely fewer things to stress about, worry over, or think on.
I’m in no way suggesting you shouldn’t think about how to be safe, how to social distance effectively, or how to avoid this virus. We’re not snake handlers! What I am suggesting is that if we think about this virus and everything else in our lives and world right now, but do so keeping it paired with thoughts of God, what He’s doing, how He’s moving, the ways in which He’s working, we’ll take up His yoke instead of the yokes the world, culture, stress and fear are so desperate to hang around our necks.
Our minds were designed to be obsessive, but obsessive about God. When we obsess over anything else… it’s exhausting.
This week, use this virus, the current stay at home orders, all of it… let’s use it to retrain these crazy brains of ours. Spend time in prayer. Spend time with the Spirit. Think on the wondrous saving grace of Jesus. Ask God to help reorient your mind to focus on Him above all things, in all situations, today and every day to come.