"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
If ever Ephesians 5:16 rang true to me, it is now, in these troubled, chaotic times. Another supporting verse says, "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time." Colossians 4:5
"Redeeming" in the original Greek means "to buy up, ransom, to rescue from loss."
I don't know how it is where you live, but where we are, things are sort of screeching down to a halt. It almost feels eerie, as most people are staying in and avoiding public places as much as they possibly can. It is just good common sense and "walking in wisdom" to do that right now.
My heart goes out to those who are sick and especially to those who have lost loved ones. Not only from the Coronavirus, but from the flu and many other diseases and causes. Our world is in such a state of fearful chaos. It is all so incredibly sad. I am often reminded of Jesus' words in Luke 21:26 describing what things will be like in these end times, "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."
As the threat of illness becomes more and more pronounced, I believe we will find ourselves spending even more time inside our homes. Instead of viewing this as a negative downside, why not "redeem" this precious time and view this situation as an opportunity to focus on being productive, positive, and proactive in accomplishing things we may have been putting off, due to busy schedules that kept us outside the home? Here are some suggestions to "rescue this time from loss."
1. Minimize! Think about a drawer, closet, crate/container, cupboard, or surface area in your home that is a continual source of stress for you, and start there. What about it makes it stressful? Is it a messy area? Does it make you feel ashamed when outsiders enter your home and see it? Clear away everything you don't want, need, use, or love from that area. Put those items in a box, remove it from the room, and store it somewhere out of sight, preferably a garage or basement or shed. If you don't think about the items during the course of a month or so, get the box out of your home, into the trunk of your car, and delivered to an outside destination.
2. Make that phone call you've been putting off. You know, the one you never quite get around to. Maybe you know it will be a long-winded one, so you never have enough time to devote to it. Perhaps you know it will be emotionally draining, so you keep avoiding it. Now is the opportune time to pick up the phone and dive in. Give that person your full, unlimited attention. Make them feel they are the only person in the world. Listen to them and hear them out for as long as they need to talk. You just never know how much they may need you or what it might mean to them to know you care enough to make them a priority. Just do it.
3. Fill out that card you've felt prompted to send. You know, the one you bought a while back with a particular person in mind, but just never got around to exerting the energy required to let your pen convey your heart. We are so used to doing everything online and through a keyboard, we are losing the beautiful art of handwritten communication. You don't know what may be going on in that recipient's world, and going to their mailbox and finding your heartfelt words may be just the shot of courage they need to keep pressing on. Put aside your laptop, and go fill out that card.
4. Finish that project you've never had time to work on. You know, the one that nags at you each time you look at it. It's time to shush the nagging voice and face it head on. Dig in and do a little at a time until you are completely finished. Imagine the feeling of relief and accomplishment you will feel to know you have seen it through to its fruition.
5. Spend that quality time you've been intending to spend. Let's face it. Marital relationships drift apart when they are neglected. Children grow up way too fast. Shower them all with love and unrivaled attention. Put away electronics, and play a board game as a family. Set aside time to sit in your child's room and listen to them talk about what's going on in their life. Work a jigsaw puzzle together. What a great opportunity to cook a homemade from scratch meal, try out a new recipe, or make your family's favorite dessert!
6. Clean that area that has been far too long neglected. Few things are more rewarding than to know that a spot in your home has been deep cleaned, and not too many things can make you feel more productive. Now that you have some extra time cooped up inside, break out the cleaning supplies, and get to work!
7. Draw near to God. Redeem the time by spending it in His Word and in fervent prayer. There is SO much to pray about and so many to pray for. My dear Mom used to tell me that prayer is a long-range weapon, and even though you may not be able to get out and about to visit and/or be of service to others, you can pray right where you are at any time, day or night. God is listening, and sometimes He has to pull us aside to get our attention.
May He send comfort to each one of your hearts during these troubled times. Remember this—HE is in complete control, and He will always be. Be still and acknowledge that He is God. Nothing has ever surprised Him, including COVID- 19. He is bigger than even this. Trust Him, and know that He will never leave nor forsake you. I am praying for each one of you as I type these words. Many blessings to you all!