Last week we all saw the pictures: crowded airports with long lines and no social distancing. Stark white face masks poked out over the noses and mouths of some. A few wiped down the handles of luggage with drippy disinfecting wipes. Many clutched cell phones tightly against their ears. And stress and fear darkened the eyes of everyone as they tried to stay calm in the face of an invisible enemy.
As more and more countries closed their borders due to the spreading coronavirus, flights were cancelled, and students, tourists, and business people found themselves stranded. And everyone in those crowded airports, whether they were in London or Morocco or Peru all wanted just one thing—they wanted to get home.
We understood their fear. Even if we weren’t stranded in some airport, home is where our hearts long to be when we’re afraid. Home is cuddling and sharing a story with our children or grandchildren; it’s the smells of our favorite foods coming from the kitchen and then the laughter as family or friends gather to eat. It’s digging in our gardens and seeing new shoots popping up out of the mulch.
Most of all, right now, home is safety.
But it’s become even more, as so many are making it a special place of love and care. You’re dusting off cookbooks and dragging out old board games. You’re finding creative ways to help your children continue learning.
Some of you are tackling projects, such as organizing family photos, and others are spending more time in Bible reading and prayer. You’re writing thank you notes to medical workers, police and grocery store and pharmacy employees—all those who can’t be home.
You’re helping neighbors with shopping, and some children in my neighborhood have found a creative way to lift the spirits of their neighbors. They’re writing encouraging messages on the sidewalks with chalk, bringing a smile to the faces of all who walk by. And we’re all stepping up efforts to connect online and even with snail mail!
We see these as blessings in disguise that God has given us in a difficult time and perhaps as reminders about what’s really important! And we pray our efforts will slow the spread of coronavirus.
But doctors and government officials warn us it may get worse before it’s over. So we’re still fearful and anxious—we know no one and no place, not even home, can guarantee we or our family, friends, and neighbors can be completely safe.
That’s when we need to take a deep breath and remember those who belong to Christ have another home. Psalm 23 tells us it’s in heaven, and there we’ll be forever safe, with no more fear. There will be no need for social distancing, and God, Himself, will welcome us home with loving arms, and we will dwell in His house forever.