Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
· Philippians 4:8 ·
It is easy to see the lovely, praiseworthy, and excellent when things are going well or when we are enjoying the things in life we love. But what about when the typical things we view as lovely are put on pause? When the things that we anticipate or look forward to in our lives are temporarily stripped away?
When things like:
> Corporate church worship and activities are replaced with online worship in our homes.
> Jobs are lost or completely changed in how they are performed.
> Sports seasons are canceled, from Little League games to the NCAA tournament.
> Planned weddings are postponed.
> Graduations are uncertain.
In the midst of this change, our minds are also filled with reports of thousands of people suffering with an unpredictable and life-threatening virus. Stories saturate the media of virus-tracking curves and death tolls. We are told to wash our hands and stay away from friends.
It is a very different and sad time. And the feelings of anxiety associated with COVID-19 can make the recommendation in Philippians 4:8 a true challenge.
While the true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy may be harder for us to recognize during this time, they are still here.
Praiseworthy things are still present.
The Lord convicted me of dwelling too much on the sadness surrounding COVID-19 and not looking enough for the lovely in my present situation.
As a part of my conviction, God gave me the idea of taking one picture each day of something lovely in my shelter-in-place life. The pictures are all of things that we most likely would not be experiencing if we were not forced into this drastic change. These are not things for me to post on social media, but things for me to record in my heart.
Over the past week that I have been taking these pictures, I have found it to help me to better follow Philippians 4:8. It makes me search for at least one thing daily that brings me joy as we shelter in place because of COVID-19.
My pictures are of things like:
> watching my child’s face light up during an online lesson with his teacher;
> worshiping as a family in our living room on a Sunday morning;
> playing a family baseball game in the yard,
> eating ice cream almost every single day,
> watching my oldest son edit the sermon video for our church,
> and planting our garden together.
The purpose of this post is to challenge you to join with me in not overlooking the lovely through the COVID-19 crisis and to simply search for something lovely to snap a picture of each day.
You will find a shift in your mindset, a shift that I think God knew we would need when He inspired Paul to write Philippians 4:8.
The following verse then tells us to put his advice into practice and the peace of God will be with us when we do:
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—
put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
· Philippians 4:9 ·
My prayer is that as we together practice searching for the lovely the peace of God will be with us throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
in the Quiver