Experiences to learn from
Yesterday we thought about giving hope for the future – the “We’ll meet again” idea. Another way of getting through a stressful difficult time is to think about the benefits of the experience itself. This is an important strand in Christian thinking. If we are suffering in some way, we connect our sufferings with those of Jesus, and in the same way as His sufferings resulted in our good, so we think of ways in which our suffering can bring benefits. A little cynically perhaps we can think of the way that if you fear you could be struck down by an infection, or killed by a bomb, it is as well to make things right with God.
In the present crisis we could identify the following potential benefits (plus others, no doubt):
Since the epidemic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen significantly. Could this prompt us to try harder with policies which would continue this trend?
This is a global crisis which brings the nations together in a way few other things can. (The Queen made a point along these lines in her address on Sunday.) Could the nations work better together in the future?
The trend towards more home working could be accelerated, thus reducing traffic congestion and the stress of commuting. (It might even be that HS2 could be scrapped, but let’s not argue about that.)
Children from school and students from college/university are learning online during the crisis. Could this process be extended making for more economical teaching and greater independence in our young people?
There is more to life than material things! We learn to value family and friends across the generations. We learn to reflect, maybe become more spiritual. We learn to value what really helps people thrive through what we are missing. We learn how unpleasant it is to be isolated and so do something about it for those folk who are permanently housebound.
We learn that much in life is relative. How much discussion about BREXIT is there these days, for example? What other news is being displaced to make way for Coronavirus news? So we learn to be more discriminating as we digest the news the media offer, and perhaps more aware of our biases in how we judge things.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul writes: Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.