Everyday Christian: 'See, I am doing a new (lockdown) thing!'

After seven weeks of lockdown in Sydney, I hit the wall.

This morning when my eyes blinked open, I pulled the doona over my head and wished the day away. I didn’t see the point of getting up. It all felt too hard.

Another day of willing myself to put on a happy face while wiping the kitchen bench yet again, as my family of five relentlessly empties the pantry.

Another day of scraping the edges of my barren emotional well, trying to find enough motivation to take a walk around the block, put on another load of washing and prepare the mundane evening meal.

Another day of sifting through the wasteland of my creativity to dredge up a glint of inspiration that might be refined into an Eternity-worthy story.

Last week I was doing well … This week it’s a different story.

The odd thing is that last week I was doing well. When I heard the announcement that our lockdown was to be extended for another four weeks, I created a new daily timetable.

I scheduled in exercise most mornings, as well as time to do a new Bible devotional app that I’m really enjoying (Lectio 365, for those who would like to try it). I added in my working hours and a slot for a walk with a friend. The timetable renewed my sense of purpose, and last week I followed it to a tee.

This week it’s a different story. I managed to keep up with Monday morning’s activities, but then lethargy set in. As the daily case numbers continue to rise – with no end to the lockdown in sight – so too has my lethargy.

And so this week I have succumbed to feeling anchorless, bored and apathetic. These feelings that had been kept at bay by the last dregs of my resolve are now front and centre. And as they loom large, my new timetable is looking very inadequate to tackle them.

I guess it’s time for the realisation that comes so regularly to all us believers: I can’t do this in my own strength. It’s going to take a Holy Spirit renaissance to get me through the long month, or months, that lie ahead.

The answer, as Hebrews 12 says, is to “fix my eyes on Jesus”. But I’m going to need His help to refocus my scattered pandemic brain on an eternal perspective. As I wrestle to do this while living in a seemingly neverending Groundhog Day, the hope I’m trying to hold on is expressed in Isaiah 43:

“This is what the Lord says –
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.'”

In these verses the Lord promises that he will “provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen” (Isaiah 43:20).

Father, help our weary nation and world to hold on to your promise for refreshment and renewal, to look for the new thing that you are already doing among your people. May this replenishment spill out from us and flow into the lives of those we come into contact with. Holy Spirit, bring revival we pray.

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