So here we are trapped in our own homes. The old days when we used to decide what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go without recourse to anyone else are now a thing of the past – at least for the moment. I think of doing something, then I ask myself, ‘is it on Boris’s list of exceptions?’ and I discover, mostly, that it is not. Therefore I cannot do it.

For some it is not just about freedom – it is about livelihood. I cannot work, therefore I cannot eat. Hopefully the government’s emergency measures will kick in before it gets that bad. But it has the potential to create huge long term problems for some.

For others on the front line this current situation means hard work and high stakes pressure to keep vital services running at a time of crisis.

But for all of us to some extent (and for some of us a lot more) lockdown may also be a huge unexpected gift.

The Corona virus lockdown has interrupted normal life in a way that I, and probably all of us, have never experienced before. Normal has ceased to be. Things which a couple of weeks ago seemed unmissable, immovable, unavoidable and uninterruptable, have now, in a stroke, been missed, moved, avoided and interrupted.

What this means is that now many of us are starting from scratch. What am I going to do? Daily life presents us, like never before, with a largely blank sheet of paper. And this is the gift.

Even for those of us still working, something similar still applies. All those evening and weekend slots that get filled up with all sorts of social and leisure activities – they are now free.

So what shall we do with all this time? That is the gift. The opportunity to choose what matters. To prioritise the important over everything else. Now we get the chance to choose to fill our time with what really matters. No longer do regular life commitments make most of those decisions for us. The calendar and diary have completely lost their grip over our lives.

So what will you do with the blanks created by lockdown?

It is easy to slip into gap filling activities – like watching TV, endless social media, avid gaming – and perhaps worse. But couldn’t we do better? What about that book that you keep telling yourself you are going to read one day? What about proper conversations with family and friends? (If you call they are unlikely to be out.) What about a thousand good things we always imagine ourselves doing “some day”?

And what about the spiritual? Lockdown might be for some the final removal of our excuses for putting God way down the rank of daily priorities. Jesus said, “Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness”. How will I seek God during lockdown? What can I do today to practically seek him and his things FIRST above all else?

Some of us may even fear the stillness of lockdown. The ever present need to go somewhere and do something is for us a distraction from facing the deeper questions of life. There are certain questions we would rather keep pushing into some unidentified future day. Lockdown rudely takes away our protection. That day could now be today. It need not be tomorrow.

But don’t look at it that way. See it as a gift. Lockdown may be the chance we have long needed to think deeply about where we stand with God. A chance to seek him, and a chance to reorganise our priorities with Jesus Christ at the top in a real and meaningful way. And it could be that some of us, if we take that gift, will come out of lockdown with new and better life priorities – for the good of ourselves, and for those around us. Changed by an unexpected gift.

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