For most of us, we are adjusting to a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic due to stay at home orders, social distancing, loss or significant reduction of work, fear of catching the virus, financial stress, and uncertainty of what the future holds. Thankfully scripture gives us some guidance on how to handle our stress during times of hardship. We will be looking at three Bible stories during a time of famine, and how to relate what they did to our present time.
The first story is found in Genesis 26:12. Here Isaac is dealing with the struggles that go along with a great famine in the land. Notice what he does, “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold, and the Lord blessed him.” Isaac invested in his future, and God blessed him mightily as a result. Many of us have more time on our hands now. With that extra time, consider investing in your future by finding reading material to improve your business, complete improvements on your home or plant in your garden for a future harvest.
The second story we will be studying is found in Nehemiah chapter 5. There was a famine in Israel, and the situation became so dire that many Jewish people were forced to sell their family’s land, and in some cases their own children as bondservants to other Jews just to survive. This angered Nehemiah who went to the nobles and demanded they return the land to its rightful owners, and the children are restored to their families. Thankfully the nobles agreed. This was an example of restoring property and relationships back to the proper order of things. During our time of social distancing and isolation, it is important to maintain, and in some cases improve our relationships with family, friends, and neighbors. As fellow believers, this is also an important time to check in with our church family to see how they are doing and have prayer with them. Checking in with neighbors and seeing if they need anything is a good way to improve relationships within our community as well.
The third story is found in Acts 11:28-30. Agabus, under inspiration, prophesied of a worldwide famine. In response to this, certain of Jesus’ disciples with means sent a contribution for relief to the brethren living in Judea. This story is an example of radical generosity. For those of you with extra means, prayerfully ask the Lord to guide you where He wants you to give.
In each of the three Bible stories, investing in the future, restoring relationships, and radical giving, notice that there is no mention of the famine afterward. These reactions to the famine didn’t cause the famine to cease, but the shift in attitude and behavior was no longer focused on the hardship. For us to have healthy emotional well-being during this COVID-19 period, consider ways to avoid thinking of this trial as a hardship, and instead look for opportunities to do good.