“April distance brings May existence.” This was a statement I recently read on a social media
post. At first, I saw it as simply a cute and rather clever rhyme. But as I began to reflect on the
sentiment, I found it to actually be incredibly profound. When we look at Scripture, we’re
reminded of this truth - distance does indeed bring about new existence.
The year 2020 is not the first time followers of Christ have had to distance themselves from others. We may think the past few weeks have been difficult, but let us not forget about those who have gone before us. Joseph was in slavery and in prison for a combined 13 years. The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the desert. David was in exile for 7 years. Elijah was in the desert for 40 days. The Apostle Paul spent time in prison for nearly 2 years. Even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was distanced from the rest of humanity for 40 days in the desert.
There seems to be a pattern of God’s people living in separation for a short season. However, that season of separation was never just “wasted” time. We’re familiar with how these stories end. On the other side of isolation, we find significant life change and an eruption of passionate mission. New life was breathed into these people and thus, the world. God used the season of distancing as a time of preparation.
Make no mistake, this current period of separation for us is also a time of preparation. It is a time to lean into the Spirit and the Word of God. It is a time to pray without ceasing for redemption and healing. It is a time to dwell in the presence of the Lord and prioritize his kingdom. It is a time to equip ourselves with the gospel message. It is a time to prepare our hearts for revival.
I believe we need to take time to consider these questions about our future: What do we want the life of the church to look like after this? What do we truly believe God can do through this situation? What does my role look like as a member of Christ’s body to help illuminate God’s kingdom and radiate the peace, hope, and love of the gospel to this community and beyond?
Imagine the spiritual awakening that could be around the corner. Imagine the revival that could take place in our community and in our world. The Spirit is eager to strengthen and equip us for the continued ministry of Jesus - we must simply work to restore our sense of urgency for the Good News that saves.
Let this be a time that God’s people ban together in prayer and repentance as we seek after Jehovah Rapha, the Lord that heals. May we yearn to see both a physical healing as well as spiritual healing. Let this be a time that God’s people prepare our hearts for a great awakening, a monumental revival. When we walk out of this season of distancing, may there be a new existence of passionate Christ-centered mission
Kaitlyn Stocks is the Youth Pastor of Nashville UMC.