For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
Sixteen years ago last month, I moved from the little one light town in Alabama where I was raised to Savannah. There’s now a 9 hour drive that separates me from my family. The roads that get us back to Alabama for visits have always been somewhat predictable until a few years ago. About 3 hours into the trip, a little before Warner Robins, GA, we found ourselves on a brand new road - without an ounce of warning - that we had never seen before. The road we had traveled every other time had somehow just disappeared. There was a complete re-routing of old roads that seemingly came out of nowhere in the few months between trips. As the roads suddenly became unfamiliar, I hurriedly pulled out my phone to check the GPS to see that the blue dot indicating my location seemed to be sitting in the midst of what should be woods! What in the world?? The roads were so new, Google hadn’t caught up to them yet either! How could Google be lost too?? What now? We couldn’t exactly turn around and go the old route because it had somehow been taken up and blocked. It wasn’t an option any more!!
At that point, there weren’t really any choices, except to keep moving in the direction we knew to keep moving and hope for the best! Surely the blue dot would eventually come to something that would offer us some hope that we were on the right road! After what seemed like 20 miles (it wasn’t quite that far), it did. It came out at the same red light where the old road had come out before. It became a little easier to breathe. If I hadn’t been so caught up in the questions and concern about where the new road was leading, I could have appreciated the fact that the new road was much cleaner, 4 lanes, and very scenic. It was lined with red brick sidewalks and benches along them. 3 years later, I can appreciate all of those factors - and still ride through there a bit amazed at how beautiful it all turned out! If only I could have had a little bit of warning at the beginning - and Google would have had a clue - I wouldn’t have had to experience the first attempt at navigating while holding my breath in pure ignorance!!
I’m not sure how you feel about it, but it seems like the past couple months have been like my first ride down the new stretch of Hwy 96 outside of Warner Robins. Our lives feel like the construction crew took the jackhammers and took up the roads that led us down what we have made our normals. The life we are forced to lead now, looks nothing like it did before “the virus.” Church is different. Work is different. Communication and relationships are different. School is different. The way we spend our money is different. Even the food we eat has been different - without the constant infusion of eating out! And when the jolt of “different” happened, I’m afraid it took with it the ability to appreciate the life of simplicity we landed in.
My husband and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary after that jolt. In the midst of “different” we had to celebrate “our day” with a take out meal along with our kids from the BBQ joint. We sat on the tailgate of Jeremy’s truck outside and ate it while it was hot. I’m not sure I need to admit how much I enjoyed that, or I may never get a ribeye dinner again! But just because it was different, doesn’t mean it wasn’t as valuable!
Before the national shutdown, our nation had prosperity that was unprecedented. And then within a matter of a few days, it was all at a screeching halt!! Now we’re trying to reboot from the cessation of life as we knew it. In the attempt of starting over, these times remind me of the question of Zechariah when he asked, “For who hath despised the day of small things?” What if...in the detour of the normal, God has given us this chance to hit the reset button on the wheel of chaos (going nowhere) that we were comfortable on! Would you take advantage of that? Maybe in the stillness, God has been able to allow a dream to bloom in your heart and mind. Are you ready to walk down a more adventurous path that looked too intimidating before?
Maybe in these tough times, we can see that we were a little more frivolous with our resources and money than we should have been. God has given us a reset time to let us figure out where our priorities are and what really matters. If we were truthful, it’s probably not been the next package delivered to our door! Or maybe it was - just because we got to wave at the person delivering it!
Has it occurred to us in the slower days how important our families and church families are to us? Is there something within us that makes us wish some relationships were better because after all, people are the most important part! Are we more willing to work on those troubled relationships? Maybe we have had time to consider that the things that kept us so busy aren’t nearly as important as our relationship with God and the people who care about us!
The slate is blank. Life is in the process of slowly resuming! The question is, will we insist to go back to the old road of normal? Or can we take this experience and let it be the small beginning that God can use that Zechariah spoke of to make our lives greater and more fulfilling! Will we remain so breathless from uncertainty and the next news briefing that we miss the park benches along the red brick sidewalks of the new road we will now travel? Can we handle it if God’s plan was to take the jackhammer and eliminate the passage back into normal as we knew it? Don’t despise this moment. It could very well be the small beginning He’s wanting to use for our good!