I live in a small farm town in New Zealand. It’s a beautiful place that I wouldn’t normally choose to call home, but it is where God has me. My purpose here is to disciple people that come from all over the world to learn what it truly means to follow Jesus through a discipleship training school in YWAM. I absolutely love what I do. I could not think of a more tailor-made job for the place I am in life.
I am a runner. I love going on runs to clear my head and just enjoy being outside. Walking for me is a waste of time, it’s just a slower way to get from point A to point B. But, with the virus sending everyone into lockdown, I have been going on a lot of walks just as an excuse to get out of the house. This has given me the space to step away from the screens I am dependent on and the deluge of news now at the edge of my fingertips. I started my walks in anger. I was mad at God. People were our purpose, now with the world shutting down, I felt like there was literally nothing for me to do.
God calls us to love our neighbors. So, on lockdown what does that mean? What do missionaries do? There are relief funds that I could give money to, there are packages that I could deliver; but, in a world that is in complete chaos, there really is not much to do besides pray. And right now that is what my walks are filled with. Embarrassingly, these walks have been filled with selfish prayers that make it seem like this virus was sent to this earth to specifically to interrupt MY life, MY plans, MY joy, and rob me of MY purpose. This virus is not a personal attack, but a wake up call for me to see that I have even less control of my life than I thought I did. Everything is getting stripped away; our freedom is gone. There is no amount of money that could bring people back to life or stop this virus in its tracks in an instant.
I have no idea why this is happening. God does, but that is not for us to know for now. On my walk, I decided I could live in one of two mindsets. I could live in the headspace that this sucks, how unfair it is, and focus on the evils of what is happening amidst the trashcan fire that this virus is causing. OR I could trust God. Trust who He is and choose to see where God is in the midst of this storm causing us to stop for a second to breathe.
My walks have been a lot more enjoyable when I choose to see God in all of it. Yes, I am still interceding on behalf of the sick, the abused, the impoverished, the addictions that can be attached to this virus, but God is a God of miracles. I can still find compassion, but fortunately I don’t have to take on those burdens. Once I chose to see God in all of this, it’s like my eyes have been opened to a whole new town that I live in. I am going a lot slower on my walks. I get to see things that I have never seen because I slowed down. That is something God has highlighted to me. “Look at the amazing things you can see when you slow down.” Going on walks instead of running made sense now.
I don’t think this is just a ploy for us to slow down and come together around a campfire singing kumbaya, but why not look at it as a byproduct? I don’t know what my purpose is quite yet, but I am so excited to slow down. The benefit of the world being on pause is that my purpose right now is to pause. Worship. Intercede. Sure, that does not look like much on a resume in the real world, but this virus has caused the whole population to redefine what the “real world” is and what is important. The world is forced to stop and slow down. It gives me the time to go on walks and truly enjoy seeing God in the big and the small. It’s inspiring to see families playing foursquare in the driveway, neighbors coming together to put teddy bears hidden on windowsill for the kids to find on a scavenger hunt, postmen stopping by every house to wave, and smiles on the faces of dogs that get to spend the whole day with their owners. A positive glimpse of the good that came out of it that can be carried forward when all of this is over.
As much as there is bad in the world, there is a good God who has already conquered disease and offers a world of hope.
By: Taylor Phillips
To learn more about Taylor and her ministry, click here.