Practical Tips for Survival during Covid and beyond

Imagine having an active life that suddenly comes to a halt due to illness or age. The shelter-in-place order gives us a glimpse into the life of a shut-in. For a short term, we can understand some of the challenges they face. Considering this, I admire how well most elderly people adapt. Perhaps not having a physical reason to be shut-in makes it harder to manage. This causes many people to feel imprisoned in their own homes.

At home prison can be productive. While in prison the Apostle Paul wrote four New Testament books: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. He truly lived out Ephesians 5:16 when he said, “Make the most of every opportunity.”

Paul understood the value of sharing hope during turbulent times. He did this by motivating people to step into their God given purpose, rather than join them in a defeatist attitude. An attitude he had every right to cultivate. But instead he “set his mind on things above” (Col 3:2).

In Paul’s epistles we find joy, strength, encouragement, and sacrifice for the good of others. Even though he was beaten, stoned, lashed, shipwrecked, and constantly persecuted by people, inside and outside of the church. Paul’s highest desire was to relate to Christ in every way. So, he purposed to live his life as an athlete destined to win the prize. I love this passage of scripture. Especially the portion about forgetting what lies behind and pressing on toward the goal.

“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view. And if you think differently about some issue, God will reveal this to you as well. Nevertheless, we must live up to what we have already attained. Philippians 3:10-16

True character rises up during tough times. Shut-ins, whether due to the wisdom of their age, or seeing a lifetime of trials play out, endure well through changing seasons. It’s not that they don’t have their moments, we all do, but they hold dear what they know is important: their faith and trust in God.

Here are a few tips to help us through hard times.

1. Count it all joy – Trials build our faith and teach us to persevere. God uses our trials to reveal Himself to others. As people see us going through hard times, yet retaining our love and trust in God, it causes them to desire the same. When good character shines above hard circumstances, it speaks louder than words. It highlights our confidence in God. Remember this life is temporary, but the next is permanent and perfect.

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.James 1:2-4 (NLT)

2. Manage the wait It’s common when a drastic change occurs in our routine to default to the waiting game—sitting around and just waiting for it to be over. But the Bible says to make the most of every opportunity. Some versions say, “Be careful how you walk,” others say “Be careful how you live.” A study of different wording helps us to get a fuller meaning. For that purpose, I like Biblehub which shows a variety of translations at a glance

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV)

3. Keep alert- I Peter 5:8 warns that we have an enemy looking to devour us. He attacks us in areas of weakness, at unexpected times. But when we are alert, we can spot these attacks and pray. During down times, when we are in a period of wait, we can easily fall into mindless habits like couch sitting, binge TV, constant snacking. Be alert: Bad habits are easier to fall into, but harder to escape. Try setting your mind on the right course the night before. Write out a few things to do for tomorrow that include prayer, Bible time, and movement. Follow the example of King David in Psalm 5:3 and Be Alert.

“In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” Psalm 5:3 (NASB)

4. Notice the gift – We live in busy times that are noisy, noisy, noisy. Too many words, too much grumbling and complaining, too much social media. We have been given a rare gift—time. Never in my history has a shelter-in-place order been given. Use this time wisely, to consider your routine and make changes. Start by simply being quiet. We are on sensory overload with constant background noise both internal and external. Be purposeful to stop it all for a portion of your day, every day, and practice silence. Even if it is just for 5 minutes. Take a hike, sit by a lake, go into the woods. Quiet the noise from traffic and other people. When you allow your mind to rest, you’ll find sluggishness replaced with a return of energy and creativity.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

5. Cultivate sensitivity to God’s Word – Read the Psalms. Begin with Psalm 46 and answer three questions: Who is God? Who am I in relationship to Him? How do these words apply to my life? Be sensitive to how the Word is speaking to you. Write it down. 

“Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79 (NASB)

6. Know what you believe and believe what you know – We think these days are evil, but every generation experienced the evil of their day. Habakkuk lived during evil times. He could not understand why God allowed good things to happen to bad people or bad things to happen to good people. A question we still hear today. So, Habakkuk went to God and posed his questions. In the end he praised God. His circumstances did not change, but his position to God did. He remembered where and in Whom he placed his faith. Not in himself and his circumstances, but in God and His power.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 (NASB)

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:23-24 (NIV)

7. Be kind – Pursue grace – Being shut-in for so long can put us all on edge. Don’t look for fights and gotcha’ moments, that’s the way of the world. Instead pursue peace and be gracious to others.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

8. Respect authority –Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1 (ESV)

And whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. 1 Cor 10:31

Grace and Peace to you. Stay safe.

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Comments

  1. Avatar Val Sarkady says

    Good thoughts, jewell — especially ‘staying alert”

  2. Lots of good ideas and scriptures for each one. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great article Jewell! Know what you believe and believe what you know really spoke volumes to me.

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