If there’s one title that has stuck with me and given me pause for nearly a decade it is pastor-theologian, John Piper’s, Don’t Waste Your Cancer. The book was an expansion of an article he wrote on the eve of his prostate cancer surgery. The phrasing expresses a rock-solid belief that God is in control of every event for soul-shaping purposes.
In light of that title, I’m challenging myself to consider what soul-shaping purposes God has for me in this unique moment in history. Here are a few of my musings.
This virus is causing me to . . .
1. Sacrificially serve my neighbor
Denying myself the pleasures of gathering — even good, godly gatherings like corporate worship — serves my vulnerable neighbor. Who would have thought that not corporately worshiping would be a way to love my neighbor? Or, consider this. Who would have thought that knocking on my neighbor’s door and asking, “Do you need any toilet paper?” could be a missional activity.
2. Quietly reflect on my soul’s idols
I’ve had revelatory, cold-sweat moments of anxiety. I had no idea how much I’ve come to rely on 392 Coffee; or how much I trust my bank account. My anxiety has that ridiculous range. This virus gives opportunity to see into the soul.
3. Appreciate the moment
Initially, solid information had a two to three day shelf life. Then it was 24 hours. Then it was six hours. Now it is two hours or less. This virus is causing me to measure life by the moment; basking in that reality and enjoying those I am with and what I am doing right now.
4. Read the Psalms
The Psalms were given for this moment. While I haven’t plumbed the depths of anguish or terror like David in Psalm 55, I’m closer. His words are more real. His answers are more solid.
5. Rest in God’s character
“When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants . . . ” (Psalm 75:3a)
It really feels like my world is tottering. Good news . . .
“It is I who keep steady its pillars.” (Psalm 75:3b)
Watching the stock market plunge feels much like the second half of Psalm 46:2,
“though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.”
Yet, the psalmist writes, “We will not fear.”
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
These are five, soul-shaping purposes God has shown me in this unique time. How is God using the virus to shape your soul?