As we enter into a second month of ‘lockdown’ here in the UK, to say the season we are in has been one of adjustment would be an understatement! However, I am increasingly aware of the need to be preparing for the season to come. So how do we do this?
1 Samuel 22:1-2 recounts the story of David and his men escaping to the cave of Adullam to hide from Saul. The passage makes a point of saying that many of them were in debt, discontented and distressed. In other words, they weren’t really in a fit state to do anything – but David used this time of hiding to establish discipline and skill so that when they came through it they were ready for battle. The subsequent chapters talk about some of the amazing victories they went on to win and, similarly, we may also come out of our season of ‘hiding’ bolder, spiritually leaner and primed for what is to come.
I feel as if I and many others are hearing more clearly from God than we were prior to the arrival of coronavirus. In the stillness, in the reading of God’s Word and other books, it is clear that lockdown has been a catalyst to us refocusing on God’s voice. If we act on what we hear from Him, we will not forget what He is teaching us and instilling in us when this period of relative calm is over.
But we must be intentional about this. I remember a former cell leader asking our group a question which I thought I knew the answer to – so I piped up and said, ‘Oh I know this… I learnt it in Living Free’ (a discipleship course I had done previously), and then promptly realised I had forgotten! His response was something along the lines of, ‘If you can’t remember the answer, you haven’t learnt it!’ Whatever God is teaching us personally in today’s season, we must strive to embed it into our thinking and behaviour while we can for tomorrow.
It would be truly awful if, when the lockdown finally begins to lift, we went back to our old lives and patterns, taking nothing from it with us. A recent survey revealed that 54% of people in the UK want a ‘major life change’ when this pandemic is over. There is the real possibility that despite our strong motivation to change now, we will end up resisting any lasting change and forget what led us to want it in the first place – it’s human nature!
For me, one of the biggest tragedies in the Old Testament is the Israelites forgetting the God who had so spectacularly delivered them. Judges 8:34 sums up their forgetfulness: ‘[They] did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side.’ May we not re-enact such forgetfulness in our own personal lives in tomorrow’s season!
My prayer for each of you reading this, and for myself, is that we may be expectant to hear from God during lockdown. May we use this time to read Scripture consistently and intentionally, to make space for God to give us words ‘today’ that we can implement and carry into ‘tomorrow’.
This, I believe, is the best form of preparation!
Dayalan Mahesan oversees the South Asian Forum team at the Evangelical Alliance. The South Asian Forum exists to connect and support the growing UK Asian church as well as to help churches have a greater engagement with Asians of other faiths. Dayalan is particularly passionate about mentoring other Christians and encouraging them to fulfil their purpose and potential.