Computers and electronic devices occasionally require a “reset.” Some have reset switches; others only need a quick log off or turn off. Life is often the same way. A “reset” is needed, sometimes desperately so. The ordinary inertia of daily life, however, mitigates against taking the time for such. Perhaps the time is now, during these weeks of “social distancing” measures, as COVID-19 courses its way around the world. Indeed, it is frequently a global, national, community or personal crisis that prompts people to pause for engaging the reset they need.
Just what kind of reset do we need? In Psalm 46:10, God exhorts, “Be still and know that I am God.” Sometimes “being still” is easier said than done. We’re programmed for busyness. Life demands, “Don’t just stand there, do something.” But then God comes along and suddenly, even shockingly, bids, “Don’t just do something, stand there.” In other words, “Sh-h-h; calm down; be quiet.”
So what’s in the quiet for us? When Elijah engaged “social distancing” measures to escape from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, he found God in the sound of a “still small voice” (I Kings 19:12). It was the reset he needed to carry on in courage. When Jonah sat isolated — yes, quarantined — in the belly of a fish, he rediscovered faith as he uttered, “While my life was ebbing away, I remembered the Lord and my prayer rose to Him” (Jonah 2:7). It was the reset he needed to carry on with commitment. For both Elijah and Jonah, the reset was accomplished in a season of quiet. It was not so much about clearing the mind but about opening the mind to God’s presence.
Could we embrace these days of home time, downtime, family time, solitude, isolation, or even quarantine as an opportunity for reset? To be sure, we will all resume life on a normal schedule in God’s time. The important thing is that we do so with a new — yes, reset — awareness of, and appreciation for, God’s presence in the midst of life. In the crisis at hand, would we, could we, hear God’s whisper, “Don’t just do something, stand there.” That’s a reset we can all use.
Ed Clevinger is minister of Grace Christian Church in Kingsport.