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This global situation with Covid 19 has the world reeling. I can sense my brain trying to make sense of things; trying to put my current reality into a category that I recognize. Maybe you're experiencing the same.

On TV and social media, there are scores of platitudes and heartfelt "silver-lining" memes circulating. There are sceptics, critics and denyers. There are environmentalists saying the earth is pushing back from all that humanity has done to damage it. There are religious pundits saying God is using Covid 19 to push this agenda or that. It all makes for a confusing and alarming time to be alive.

Weeks ago, as Eddie was praying about the life and ministry we will eventually build here, he saw a picture of a 3D puzzle. He sensed God telling him that while we are making plans and strategies on a 2-dimensional plane, God's perspective was completely different.

Remembering this picture has helped me in the past 24 hours to give myself a break. My brain still kicks into problem-solving mode and tries to make sense of what is senseless. When it does, I remind myself that my perspective is limited, that there's no possible way I can solve the puzzle on my own.

Isaiah 55:9 says, "For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

Sure, there are lessons we humans can learn from this disaster. Lessons about how to connect, how to prepare, how to take care of ourselves and our community. The action of reducing a global catastrophe to pat answers and soundbites is not helpful to our collective psyches. In my opinion, it's more productive to meditate on how big God is and how much we need His peace in these times. We can't individually control Covid 19, but we can learn and practice being at peace in the storm.

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The world has been turned on its head in the past week. Once hypothetical scenarios of closed borders, pandemics and global chaos are suddenly very real and affecting the lives of millions. Plans are being changed, normal routines are being questioned and, ultimately, thrown out. There are no easy answers or silver bullets. There is a global sense of uncertainty and even impending doom.

Here in Belize we have, thus far, been relatively untouched by Covid 19. There are, so far, no confirmed cases. With such a low population (less than 400,000) in the country, limiting large crowds of people isn't too hard. For those in the village, social distancing is a cinch. But with a limited and undeveloped medical system, and low access to clean water and sanitation, Belizeans are very much concerned for its spread if Covid were ever to breach our boundaries. Add to that Belize's dependence on tourism and imports; the situation is serious.

There's something that happens to us spiritually when faced with uncertainty, sickness or even death. The spread of fear, greed and panic can be just as debilitating to a society as an outbreak. These spirits will attack and dismantle our emotions if given access to them. So what do we do?

Over the weekend, Eddie felt God was telling him to "consecrate himself." Consecration means "association with the sacred;" to set oneself apart, for God. I find the part of setting oneself apart to be fitting in a time of social distancing and quarantine. This distancing is more than personal isolation; its drawing away from in order to draw near to God.

James 4:8 says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

As we create new norms, I invite you to investigate what consecration might look like in your own life. Maybe it's taking time to meditate on, or memorize scripture. Maybe it's availing yourself to serve your neighbors, the poor or disenfranchised. Maybe it's spending time outdoors with a heart of gratitude for God's creation. How many of us have said we'd do more of these things if we just had time. Now's the time and despite how it feels, it's a gift. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

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Part of the process of moving to a completely new place is establishing a new normal; a new home and new routines. The question when you're living cross-culturally is how much comfort do you sacrifice in order to assimilate, and how much of your cultural norms do you maintain, in order to feel at-home.

Eddie and I have been remarking how it's the little things we miss about our American/Canadian lifestyle. Things like drinking tap water, picking up fast food through a drive-through, prepackaged salads and meals aren't life-changing non-negotiables, but if we had them, we'd be comforted by their familiarity.

The house we're living in is a year-long rental. It's big and comfortable by Belizean standards and we feel blessed to have it for our family's re-introduction to Belize. Looking ahead to establishing a home of our own brings up questions of square footage, acreage, the level of finishings etc. These details are constantly being put on the scale of comfort vs conformity. We want our home to be welcoming, not ostentatious. We are committed to continuing to live a generous, hospitable, debt-free lifestyle.

Even as we are in the throes of house hunting, we know that the creature comforts we miss don't offer lasting comfort. They stroke our egos or comfort our flesh, but they are just conveniences after all.

In John 14, Jesus tells his disciples about the place His Father has prepared for them in heaven. For many people, particularly those who have lived a painful life, this promise is what gets them through the hard times. But further down in that chapter, Jesus promises an even better comfort than the hope of heaven:

John 14:16 (KJV) says, "And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;"

More than images of castles in the sky, this is what brings comfort to the here and now. The Comforter, God's Holy Spirit, is available to bring counsel, peace, joy in every circumstance. He, not family heirlooms or new technology, is the essential ingredient to making our life here a home.

If you have never experienced the comforting presence of God's Spirit in your life, it's available to you today. I honestly can't explain the inner peace it brings, or predict what His presence may do in your life, but I guarantee that it's real and its worth the risk.

The journey of knowing God starts with a realization and confession that, try as we might, we fail. We aren't perfect; we disappoint and hurt people, we manipulate or lie to protect ourselves...we are human, not God. From there, we ask God to forgive all the things we've done that have fallen short of His perfection and ask Him to take over our lives, sending His Spirit as comforter. This begins a fresh start to a new you.

If you have taken this step or have questions about it, please reach out to me privately via email: I pray that you would experience the life and comfort of the Spirit in your life as well.

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