Intersection of Life and Faith

6 Unexpected Treasures of ‘Presence over Busyness’ during Quarantine

  • Dawn Wilson Contributing Writer
  • 2020 18 May
6 Unexpected Treasures of ‘Presence over Busyness’ during Quarantine

In the movie Back to the Future and its sequels, the main characters had opportunities to go back in time and correct wrong choices. In some ways, the coronavirus pandemic offers us the same opportunity.

Sheltering in place gives us time for God to work in fresh ways in our lives.

It’s truly heartbreaking that much has been taken away by this crisis. However, it’s also truly hopeful that precious gifts—unexpected treasures—have been given by COVID-19. These treasures are wrapped up in the beautiful blessing of “presence.” Being fully present gives us hope for meaningful change in an otherwise confusing and frustrating season.

So before we rush into busyness as the lockdowns lift, let’s consider some of these unexpected treasures of presence we’ve experienced while sheltering in place—and how we can honor those treasures as gifts that continue giving.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Wavebreakmedia

  • 1. The Treasure of Tested Faith

    1. The Treasure of Tested Faith

    When life becomes chaotic and the future seems uncertain, surprisingly, this is the time when God grows our faith. We begin our journey with Jesus by faith in the power of the Gospel, and we continue our adventure with Him by faith in the power of His ongoing, sanctifying grace in the face of trials and afflictions.

    Joshua 1:9 and Psalm 34:4 remind us that God is present with us, and He wants to deliver us from all our fears. 

    Beyond concerns that we might run out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, many new fears about the future sprang up to trouble God’s people during the pandemic. What would happen to family members if we suddenly got COVID-19? How would we cope with being cut off from family and friends? Would our children survive our homeschooling? Would God continue to provide? These and other questions required faith in God in the present while trusting Him for the future. 

    Matthew 6:25-34 reminds us not to worry about tomorrow. We’re not to be anxious, but rather to—in the moment—present our requests, with thanksgiving, to the Lord. We may want many things, but God supplies His children’s needs. 

    How to Keep the Treasure:

    Remember the faithfulness of God. Remember how He has been good and faithful to you in the past, and how He supplied your needs during the height of the pandemic. Continue to hand over your fears, worries, and anxieties to Him, knowing He cares for you and will provide for your needs.

    Circumstances change, but He can be trusted through every uncertainty and replace every nagging fear with His peace. When we are afraid, we need to stop and refresh our faith in God, our ever-present help

    When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/ipopba

  • 2. The Treasure of Being

    2. The Treasure of Being

    Before the coronavirus pandemic, people were primarily activity-oriented. With COVID-19, many discovered the unexpected joy of being rather than always doing. Living in presence, we’ve discovered we are more than what we do. 

    The pandemic forced us to deal with present realities. Before the pandemic, some were obsessed with always showing their “best face” on Facebook—trying to impress others or show off their latest purchase.

    But as hair grew wild and roots began to show, and the norms of life we’d come to expect were stripped away, there was less of a desire to impress and more of a need to “get real.”

    With new transparency, people shared their neediness online and in text messages, asking for prayer. For some, social media developed into a time of being genuine friends, not just having them.

    Also, with more time to think, people began to examine their hearts and thoughts before God. “The heart” is the center of our being. In times of stillness, God sparked a work of fresh grace in many people’s lives, and caused them to thirst for spiritual transformation.

    Perhaps because so much of regular church body life was shut down, being right before God as individuals suddenly became more important than doing things for Him and receiving acknowledgment or praise from others for doing them. 

    How to Keep the Treasure:

    Be in the moment—rather than rehearsing the past or worrying about the future. As you practice the presence of God, ask Him to give you a humble, teachable heart. Seek to be more transparent and less hidden so you can minister to others in their times of need.

    Especially on social media, consider how you present yourself to others. Rather than seeking to just impress, consider influencing others for good and for the Kingdom of God. Respond to others’ needs for prayer and resources. Most important, be with the Lord...allowing Him to continue helping you become the person He created you to be.

    Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes

  • man sitting on camping chair at sunset quietness

    3. The Treasure of Quietness

    In the beginning of the shutdown, many people panicked. Not knowing what to do, they turned to default activities like binge-watching television or playing video games.

    But after a while, boredom set in. 

    In a new desire to live in the moment and deal with inner turmoil, many decided to buy Bibles or read them for the first time. Some began serious Bible study—looking for hope. Others turned to the Internet, searching biblical websites for ways to address their fears and concerns or to learn more about Jesus.

    Many began to meditate on and memorize Scriptures. God’s people become stronger in times of quietness coupled with faith—complete dependence on Him. He designed us to need time with Him in His Word and prayer. 

    God gave us creative minds for planning and dreaming, and during COVID-19, many set aside busyness and found more time for quiet contemplation and creative thinking. The Lord wants us to cease striving and relax in His presence. When everything churns around us, we can choose to quiet our hearts before Him. We can find rest and peace as we review His character and love for us. 

    How to Keep the Treasure:

    Slow down and practice God’s presence in regular quiet times. Instead of focusing on bad news in the media, reflect on the good news of who God is, remembering He is in complete control!

    Push away from distractions, read the Word, and meditate on what you read. Memorize key scriptures that you wish you had known during the current pandemic. Pray for a new adventure with the Lord that will help you grow, encourage and bless others, and bring honor to His name.

    Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

    Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Eyup Belen

  • 4. The Treasure of Family

    4. The Treasure of Family

    Many people were surprised, in light of COVID-19, by deepening heartstrings to family members. One of the most heartbreaking consequences of the pandemic was the requirement to stay away from loved ones not in our own homes. And one of the most challenging consequences was learning to live lovingly with those in our homes. 

    When the rush out the door was replaced by leisurely times together, many couples learned to connect at a more intimate level. Or they discovered ways their communication was lacking. Before long, relationship strengths and weaknesses were more apparent, and they had a choice—do we grow together in unity and peace, or grow apart? 

    Also, a godly family living out biblical principles daily is the greatest treasure parents can give their children—a heritage from the Lord. In some cases, when parents became their children’s schoolteachers, relationship challenges and opportunities took on a different perspective. 

    Love in all its shades was needed, and parents had to become more teachable themselves so they could lead and instruct with wisdom and not discourage their children. Over time, some families eliminated all distractions, putting down cell phones, and turning off the television to cultivate more meaningful, purposeful interactions.

    How to Keep the Treasure:

    Walk and talk with your spouse. Make eye contact and listen. Rekindle the flame of love at every opportunity. Sit with and listen to your children. Practice the Golden Rule. Schedule times to set aside technology and play games, eat meals together, and enjoy one another’s company. 

    Give each other space to dream, but then come together and share those dreams!

    Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! (Luke 6:31, Msg.)

    Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Wave Break Media

  • 5. The Treasure of Contentment

    5. The Treasure of Contentment

    Although there was the initial madness of hoarding supplies, many Americans learned how to “make do,” just as their ancestors did. The lockdown startled people, but reminded them how little they needed for a satisfying life. 

    For many, when grocery store lines were ridiculously long, practicing presence meant cooking meals at home with existing pantry supplies. It became one way to observe and appreciate what God had already provided.

    People discovered how to live with less income. They distinguished needs from wants. Some even went through their closets, shelves and garage, shedding the excess from their lives and sharing with others. They uncovered the treasure of contentment by streamlining possessions—keeping the valuable, and simplifying their homes by eliminating clutter. 

    Contentment in the present brings a sense of peace that is never found in the constant grasp for more. And it’s a peace so profound, the world cannot understand it.

    How to Keep the Treasure:

    Continue to value what is truly important: people over things, and true treasures over trinkets and gadgets. Consider rational minimalism by asking, “Do I need this?”

    Let go of things that hinder family life and ministry, or distract from pursuing God’s purposes for your life. Stop hoarding and practice contentment by praying before shopping and thanking God for what you already have.

    Consider how blessed you are, and think of ways to love others through selfless sharing of your bountiful resources. Practice hospitality.

    Godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6)

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/AaronAmat

  • 6. The Treasure of Gratitude

    6. The Treasure of Gratitude

    The lockdown made people more aware of who and what they love. In the rush of life, it’s easy to take people, things, and activities for granted. But when people slowed down long enough to live in the present, they realized who and what they value.

    God increased the capacity for gratitude as many realized how many blessings they already had—and their source. Every “good and perfect gift” is from our loving Father in heaven (James 1:17). The Bible says, “Be thankful,” and it’s a wonderful way to live.

    Because of COVID-19, people became more thankful for things and opportunities they’d often failed to appreciate before: churches and church activities, sports and sporting events, restaurants, lunch meet-ups with friends, school concerts, well-stocked grocery stores, shopping malls, the splendor of nature beyond our own back yards, vacations, and so much more.

    After being cooped up so long, we all have a new appreciation of the value of freedom.

    How to Keep the Treasure:

    Make a list of the things you’re grateful for, and review it daily to develop a more thankful attitude. Intentionally make more time for people. Resolve not to let career or ministry crowd out valuable time with those you love. Plan an affordable, relaxing vacation. Schedule time at least once a month to enjoy God’s creation. When shopping, do so with a grateful heart. Celebrate America’s freedoms, and stand with those who protect our freedom. Thank God in all circumstances!

    Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1)

    Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/freshh-connection

    headshot of author Dawn WilsonDawn Wilson and her husband Bob live in Southern California. They have two married sons and three granddaughters. Dawn assists author and radio host Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with research and works with various departments at Revive Our Hearts. She is the founder and director of Heart Choices Today, publishes Upgrade with Dawn, and writes for and Dawn also travels with her husband in ministry with Pacesetter Global Outreach.