There’s an old saying that we should never let a good crisis go to waste, meaning that a crisis can be used to improve aspects of our lives—as in our lifestyles, mental and spiritual health, etc. The Easter message certainly invites us to trust God’s power to transform our lives into something better. Our chances of experiencing the COVID-19 crisis and the power of God to transform us will be much greater if we regularly practice a variety of spiritual disciplines. These disciplines help us maintain a vibrant spiritual center (or find a center, if we’ve never had one).
The discovery that we are vulnerable to calamities that we thought only happened in other parts of the world is quite sobering. 9/11 showed us that we are not invincible to terrorism; the 2008 financial crisis reminded us that we can suffer economic meltdowns reminiscent of past eras, like the Great Depression; and health watchers remind us that the coronavirus is not the first health pandemic in the world (ex., the Spanish flu in 1918).
As the Israelites made their way across the desert from Egypt to Canaan, they camped at Rephidim (Exodus 17: 1-7), which was a lousy place to camp (humanly speaking) because there was no water. The situation quickly became a full-blown crisis as the people quarreled with Moses and demanded that he provide water for them. But Moses knew he could not be their errand boy, meeting all their needs and demands. Still, the situation was desperate; death comes fairly quickly in a hot desert if there is no water to drink. Moses also realized that the people were sinking into a numbing spiritual crisis; he asked them, "Why do you test the Lord?" The water crisis was severe, but Israel's lack of trust in God was an even greater crisis.
One of the Scripture readings for this coming Sunday (5th Sunday of Lent) is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1:45). After Lazarus died, many people came to Martha and Mary to console them in their grief (v.19). People in mourning typically did not leave their homes during the first seven days after a death except to go to the grave of the loved one to grieve their death. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, however, she went to meet him. When she met Jesus, she said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (v.21). She then sent word to her sister Mary that Jesus was calling for her. So Mary got up quickly and went to where Jesus was. The people mourning with her in the house thought she was going to the tomb to weep, but instead she went to meet Jesus, saying the same words that Martha had said earlier—“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (v.32).