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  • Katie Smith


Updated: Jun 30, 2020

When my second son was born at 28 weeks, weighing two pounds, I was surprised that all his body parts were relatively normal looking and intact, with two exceptions: his right hand was bent awkwardly down to his forearm, and his feet turned severely toward each other. Now, at the age of five, we still have challenges with regard to those extremities, but they are never fully noticed until he fatigues. Those straightened feet, especially the right one, clubs back when he's tired or experiencing his own type of drought, which usually results in a rough tumble. Yet, when he notices it, we stretch it, and we work hard to maintain the proper roots strongly founded from his birth.

Roots that dig deep in the earth can withstand prolonged droughts. Seeds planted among rocks (as Jesus explained in his famous parable) may spring up quickly, but, almost as quickly, they wither from lack of moisture. Likewise in quietness of quarantine, many face their own "droughts" exposing the truth of their individual root system.

Droughts provide a platform to distinguish the true plants from the mere surface ones. Anyone can put seeds in dirt, but God is the only one who makes them grow over time. During such a "drought" as the coronavirus, the depth of our roots is being exposed by the heat of the sun or solitude. If our faith depends on fancy churches, ritualistic practices, or priestly guidance, we won't thrive alone in a prison of pandemics.

Our growth must be singularly dependent upon our love and hunger for Christ alone. Only then does his "living-water" sustain us in solitude; only then do our roots remain in prolonged droughts.

History tells us that Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years, and they "all drank the same spiritual drink, and ate the same spiritual food" (1 Cor. 10). However, this "spirituality" didn't impress God because we are also told that He was not pleased with them, and they were "thrown in the wilderness" despite these seemingly religious rituals.

Many Christians today look no different than those outside the church , making it apparent why so many non-believers feel no need for church community. Yet this is also a benefit of our universal drought. The false foliage falls away, and the real roots stand firm in the cracked soil with more opportunity to grow and expand when the drought subsides.

Coronavirus begs the question: do we still love Christ if all else is taken away? Can we thrive in a drought, or do we wither at the first true time of testing? Can the "church" continue amidst an absence of gathering?

One of my best friends, who currently resides in her eternal home away from all viruses and quarantines, had a wonderful pastor in Rome, Italy, Leonardo de Chirico, who recently published an article about "Church Life continuing despite COVID-19". So much of the article applied to the realities and changes we all face despite our faith, especially as it relates to harvesting because we will all eventually "reap what we sow." If all these "places of worship" were simply built to serve our own egos or wallets, I'm certain they won't withstand this deadly drought. On the other hand, Leo reminds us that "The coronavirus outbreak is an opportunity to rely on God and to test the quality, wisdom, and breadth of our ministry. What we’ve sowed in the life of the church and in people’s lives over the years will spring up and bring fruit."

I pray our gardens flourish despite the current drought or future floods that are certain to test our faith until we are called to an eternal home that knows nothing of social distancing or drastic droughts.


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