Discover more from Megan Fera
My Quarantine Is for Christ
To look at me you wouldn’t say, “unmotivated.” Every day it’s up early, coffee, laundry, food prep, before the kids even get out of bed. All day long you’ll find me wiping, stacking, making, raking; accounting, planning, listening, teaching; folding, solving, feeding, sweeping. But this is how I do crisis; busy makes me feel better.
Late at night is when you’ll know I’m asking, “why, though?” Around 10:30, when the house finally goes dim, I get to make a choice. Bedtime means I will be ready to embrace the morning. Netflix means I will wait for my husband to doze off and then float around the halls checking locks and light-switches, or hover in the kids’ bathroom mirror to scrutinize my wrinkles for a while. Eventually I’ll lie down to listen for a truck on the freeway and wonder where it might be going. I avoid sleep, because I fear tomorrow will feel listless.
There is no earthly reason quarantine should irk me this way. Thank the Lord, we are all healthy and working. Honestly my day-to-day hasn’t changed that much. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, and I’ve homeschooled before. But until now it always seemed like the all the things I did were done on the way to doing something else. There might be legal clients to serve, or Bible teachings to prepare, or - what I miss the most - visitors to pop in and share their hearts over my kitchen counter. Now, the trajectory of this relentless housework has become a treadmill: constant motion taking me nowhere.
A few weeks ago, I got so bitter about it I finally realized I should pray. And the Lord answered, right there in Philippians. There I found Paul rejoicing in days full of purpose, even as he sat captive at the hands of Rome, awaiting execution. It’s kind of embarrassing that this is the type of extreme it takes to adjust my perspective, but that’s often how it goes with me. God has to put things in bold relief. The more I’ve adopted Paul’s words for myself, the more I’ve been rejoicing with the purpose I find in every hour, and even (sometimes) getting to bed on time. Let’s see if this can help you too.
My Quarantine Is for Christ
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (Phil. 1:12-18)
How agonizing for this traveling missionary, this hardworking man of action, to sit in prison with his hands literally tied. I bet he would have loved to get back out there and contend with the world, even as lesser preachers were free to do so. But Paul understood what I need to remember: his station was for Christ. Yes, he is stating causation. “Preaching Christ is what got me here.” But he’s also stating purpose, “The reason I am here is to advance Christ.” You could even say he’s describing his identity, “I live this out in Christ.” Paul isn’t saying this just to get himself psyched up. All around, he sees the evidence that God has a plan for his prison. Because of Paul’s presence there, the whole praetorian guard has learned of Jesus and his fellow ministers are more (not less!) bold to speak God’s word. These are miracles before Paul’s eyes, proof that God is working. No wonder he can rejoice.
All the same for you and me. When I remember my quarantine is for Christ, I remember that Christ, in his sovereignty, put me here. Christ, in his loyalty, stays with me here. Christ, in his mercy, will spread his gospel here. Is it possible that friends who text can learn my days at home are spent for Christ? Could my children learn to speak his word without fear? If God can perform this marvel in a Roman prison, he can certainly do it in my kitchen. So now my morning prayers contain these words: Lord, my quarantine is for you. Do with it what you will. Please let my kids become more confident in you, and help them speak your word without fear. I find myself rejoicing because I am certain that’s what will happen.
I Know This Will Turn Out for My Deliverance.
I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. (Phil. 1:19-22)
I don’t care how many times Instagram tells me to be a boss babe. I am straight up scared right now. For what we like to call, “therapy reasons,” I am generally very aware that life can go drastically wrong. Medically, socially, financially, politically, the months ahead seem like a heavy fog, and I am anxious that when it lifts we’ll find a treacherous landscape. What can God tell me to calm my dizzying fears?
“You know this will turn out for your deliverance.”
Paul bravely rejoiced every morning in prison, not knowing if he might be executed that afternoon. His suffering was so intense that he wondered if death was actually the better option. But like Job affirming, “I know that my redeemer lives,” and Naomi agreeing, “the Lord has not left you this day without a redeemer,” Paul can delight in one true final fact: there will be a deliverance. By the help of the Holy Spirit, Paul’s daily work would bear fruit, and his death would bring him into glory, forever.
Same for me! Same for me! Same for me! I want to shout when I remember this promise. Maybe I don’t need to know what the next few months will bring. Maybe I can trust my redeemer that the work he gives me will be fruitful, and the things I bury in the process will pave the way to greater glory.
So now I have the mission statement I need to get through quarantine.
My quarantine is for Christ; this will turn out for my deliverance.
One Little Wrinkle
Of course, none of this helps unless I really believe Christ is worth it. The part of me that still secretly believes my own plans, priorities and preferences might be better than the presence of Jesus will keep on feeling suffocated. But that is okay. Those are just the last breaths of an old self that needs to be snuffed out. I find the best way to reorient on God is to engage in worship. Stop the dishes a minute and sing a song, even as my children are waiting (I like this one and this one and this one). Read a gospel passage, not to outline or take notes, but just to receive the ministry of God through his word. When I catch a glimpse at the glory that resides in Christ, I can join with Paul in saying, “Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” Then my day will have purpose. Then my evening will bring rest. I am praying, with a smile, that you will feel the same.