In the World War II epic, “Saving Private Ryan,” Captain John Miller and his small unit found themselves in a precarious predicament. They had been tasked with finding and saving a young private named James Francis Ryan, whose brothers had all been killed in battle. When they finally found him in the middle of war-torn France, however, Ryan refused to desert his unit which was facing a bloody battle to defend a bridge from the Nazis.
As he contemplated what to do, Captain Miller turned to his second in command and said with a befuddled smile:
“The world has taken a turn for the surreal.”
I think we can all say that right now.
We are definitely wading into uncharted waters as we figure out how to react and live during a time of social distancing, pandemic and recession. Mundane activities have become anything but. Going to the grocery store is now like walking through a field of land mines. Church is something we do in our pajamas, staring at a screen in our bedrooms. Our daily and weekly routines have been turned upside down to the point that it’s hard to remember what day of the week it is.
The world has definitely taken a turn for the surreal.
One of the consequences of social distancing has been that many of us have more time on our hands. For some, their work hours have been cut. Our children aren’t in school. Sports have been cancelled. We can’t go where usually go and do what we usually do.
Our daily routines have changed dramatically. Our sleep patterns have shifted. In this time of flux, many have found themselves floundering. The kids are bored. We find ourselves spending hours playing video games, scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, or binge watching Netflix. Some have even fallen into the trap of drinking, drugs and porn.
In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul encouraged the Christians in Ephesus and us to “make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). I really like the wording of the old King James Version of that verse.
“Redeem the time,” Paul tells us.
Redeem the time God has given you during this pandemic. Don’t mindlessly let this precious gift slip through your fingers. In our former lives, we all at one point or another lamented the projects we wanted to get done, but didn’t have the time. We complained about how, because of work and extra-curricular activities, we didn’t spend time together as a family.
You have the time now. When this is all over, you don’t want to look back with regret. “Why didn’t I do those things while I had the time?”
Time is a precious gift of God. He has given you today to live for him and others. The devil wants you to mindlessly waste that time – to not make the most of this opportunity. If you have fallen into his trap during this pandemic, take it to God in prayer. Ask him to forgive you. The God who has dedicated all of time and history to saving you has and will always forgive you.
But then redeem the time. Work hard to get into a routine. Set goals. Set aside a time every day to read God’s Word or have a family devotion. Make a list of things you want to accomplish. Put them in order of priority and start getting them done. Dedicate certain times as family time when you will play games with your children, watch old family videos or go for walks together. Make sure you watch church together every week.
Even though the world has taken a turn for the surreal, look at this as an opportunity God has given you to redeem the time.