He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30
Three weeks ago, when this virus still seemed to be only a theoretical threat, I was skeptical of the necessity of radical measures to slow its spread. I suspected the risk was exaggerated and would soon blow over. When March Madness was cancelled, I was annoyed. As I began to realize how much this little virus could affect my life, I became downright irritated. This is disrupting my routine, finances, job, travel plans, kid’s school, and now, my gym closed (gasp!).
I must admit, my first thoughts were about how this was changing my life. As I prayed the next morning though, something happened. It began to dawn on me how much others were being affected. As our community has shut down, there are many who won’t be getting a paycheck for some time. I have friends whose lives have already been drastically altered by this virus. As I prayed, I began to realize, It’s not about me.
As Christians, we’re not immune to selfish thoughts. I’ve heard some recently insist that we’re acting on fear, not faith, suggesting that we should just carry on as normal. God will protect us. I very much doubt that Covid-19 infects Christians any less though. This kind of pseudo-faith is just another excuse to live as we want.
I’m still tempted to think this way. Since most young healthy people recover, I wasn’t initially worried about getting it. We should just live our lives. Let’s go on that vacation. Let’s live in faith. In this mindset, I didn’t care about bringing the virus back to my community. I just cared about my vacation, using faith as an excuse to do what I wanted. (We did cancel our travel plans.)
In today’s passage, John the Baptist insisted that his stature must decrease as Christ’s increased. John’s simple statement is a model for what the Christian life is meant to be. Daily, there is to be less of us and more of Christ. Life is not about serving ourselves. It’s about serving God and sharing his love with those around us.
So, how do I pray now? I do pray for protection for myself and loved ones. It’s not wrong to want my family to make it through this. I also pray for God’s will though. As it becomes more evident that this is going to be a prolonged, painful fight, I realize that it is often through life’s trials that God works. He often uses difficult times to draw people to him. God, use this for your will.
I pray that God would bring some good out of this virus. I pray God would use me to share his love with those around me. I pray for opportunities to help where I can. I pray for less of my way and more of God’s way. I may be slow to learn, but I am learning. It’s not all about me.