Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Awaken to Reality
The 2020 Awakening!
Terry R. Baughman
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, and those who plundered us requested mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1-4 NKJV).
In the beginning of the novel coronavirus, known at COVID-19, we willingly hunkered down for two weeks, almost gleeful that we had a forced vacation to stay at home. At the end of March, stay-at-home orders were extended for another thirty days and our vacation was over. We then felt in confinement, imprisoned in our homes and wondering if we were breaking the law when we ventured out for something that wasn’t essential.
The virus struck closer to home and many in our circles of friends became affected, some quite seriously, and a few friends died as a consequence of the pandemic. This caused us all to realize the seriousness of the rapid spread of the virus. Yet, we longed for the end of this outbreak, the opening of our favorite restaurants, and a quick return to normal life and routine events.
As businesses and events began to open up the spike in infections and hospitalizations began to arise. This fueled more fears and the acute awareness that were were not back to normal. New restrictions were imposed and social gatherings were limited. Other constraints on our freedoms have been imposed by business owners, health authorities and local governments.
As the weeks wore on we came to the realization that things will never be normal, at least not in the sense that we were accustomed to just a few months previous. Contact among strangers is not allowed. Plexiglas walls divide us from customer service personnel. Only the eyes and body language communicate and kind expressions and smiles are hidden behind masks, bandanas, or scarves. We pass in the stores without expression and it seems that we are completely alone in the middle of a crowd.
We are not the first to feel displacement, isolation, and depression in the midst of difficult social and cultural disruptions. Many people have suffered far worse conditions and lived to share their experience.
Thousands of the occupants of Judah were taken captive in and around Jerusalem and were enslaved. More than 50,000 people were marched in long processions roped together and driven like cattle for hundreds of miles to the place of their encampment. The weak or sick died on the journey or were abandoned without hope. At their destination there was only the prospect of slave labor offered in exchange for a meager existence in a strange land. Who can sing in a foreign place? This was their new normal. For seventy years in exile this was their reality.
In America we have enjoyed a life of peace, liberties, and social acceptance, until now. While we hope to get back to something akin to our previous existence, we recognize that many liberties once taken for granted can swiftly be taken away. We cannot be lulled into apathetic acceptance of things as they are, we must awaken to the fact that we are nearing the end of time. Things are not likely to improve much, but rather there will be more challenges in the days ahead.
Awaken to the new reality; embrace the times as a new opportunity and let us work, “while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).
“Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).