Corona: Curse Or A Blessing?

I recently saw a picture in the news from the city of New Delhi, India. The picture shows a comparison of the air quality in the bustling city before the current Coronavirus crisis and now as life has dramatically slowed down. The contrast is stunning. As a creative, I tend to respond powerfully to visual images, and this image had my mind spinning.

I asked myself a question, “Is this current worldwide virus situation entirely a curse, or could there be some blessing in it?” Now, before responding in outrage at my audacious question, understand I am heartbroken by the impact of this virus around the world. I also have spent the last ten years serving as a short-term worship-leadership missionary to the nation of Italy, one of the epicenters of the virus. I know people who have died from this terrible pandemic, and many, who I consider family, are currently in lockdown throughout the nation. So a significant part of me is grieving for all the harmful effects of this sickness. However, I am still wondering, is it all negative? Is it possible that God is doing something through this moment that should capture our attention?

Let’s go back to the picture of India. Could it be that God is bringing an opportunity for a new spiritual “clean air” to replace the pollution of life as it was before with something more pristine, refreshing, beautiful, and ultimately, a blessing? I want to encourage us in this current space to look for the clean air of the Holy Spirit moving and stirring in our souls and surrounding lives. That fresh air could come in the form of extra time of prayer, study and worship with the Lord, an unplanned walk with your spouse, games after dinner with your kids, or merely sharing a smile to a lonely neighbor. We read in Romans 8:28,

“…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Not all things are good, but I am so grateful that God can do good things through every circumstance. And in this season, might we choose to be aware of and take part in what our Lord is doing?

There is no doubt in some ways, things have changed for the worse. But could it be that God is allowing us to lead worship differently – in a way that doesn’t involve music – an approach that flows out of who we are and how we live daily? An opportunity to live lives of worship that then leads those who surround us to give glory to the King of kings.

I am praying for the end of the Coronavirus. Yet, as I wait for the answer to this prayer, I am also praying that I don’t waste the unique opportunity of spiritual “clean air” that God has given us.

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An Excerpt from Glenn Packiam’s New Book “Worship and the World To Come”

Glenn Packiam (Doctor of Theology and Ministry, Durham) is the associate senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is the songwriter of more than fifty worship songs, including “Your Name” and “Mystery of Faith,” and the author of several books, including Blessed Broken Given: How Your Story Becomes Sacred in the Hands of Jesus and Discover the Mystery of Faith: How Worship Shapes Believing. He is also a visiting fellow at St. John’s College at Durham University and an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary.
Packiam preaches at conferences for pastors and worship leaders and has spoken at Wycliffe Hall at Oxford University, Biola University, Asbury Seminary, Calvin College, and Trinity School for Ministry. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with his wife, Holly, and their four children.

Responses

  1. The Lord has brought me to a similar place of revelation and perspective through this time. So much has been stripped away from our lives, but it has been so good to reevaluate the “why’s” of what we do and to bring back intentionality into all the things we give our time and focus to. I’ve enjoyed thinking through my individual and corporate habits of worship unto the Lord to simply refresh my heart in the true purpose of worship (not just musically). I can understand that because of all the devastation that this virus has caused that it may sound insensitive to say that this time has been a blessing, but God works in the darkest valleys and His light is not diminished there – rather, it may be seen to shine brighter for all the darkness around. Maybe we needed God to show us how polluted our offerings had become to Him and this is just our long-suffering God showing us mercy in giving us a chance to breathe cleanly again.