Last week Dominic Raab, who is currently deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announced the expected extension of lockdown measures for a further three weeks.

When the measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 were first put in place on 23 March, it felt as though there was a target we were collectively striving towards, but now that goal has come and gone and mass quarantine has been extended. For many, the passing of this first review date came with the realisation that this may be our reality for much longer than initially anticipated.

The leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, called on the Government last week to release its exit strategy, saying that Britons need a sense of what comes next”. The news this week has been flooded with articles of what to expect when these measures are relaxed and reports of other countries doing just that: Austria allowing certain businesses to trade again, and Denmark sending children back to school, for example. People are clearly itching to know exactly when things are going to change.

Whilst we are taking a four-nations approach in the UK to tackling COVID-19, there are slight variations from nation to nation as the devolved governments take decisions on a more local level. I usually tune in to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s daily briefing during my lunchbreak to get a sense of what is happening in Scotland. This week the media have been particularly focused on when schools will return, and the implications for children not able to sit their exams this summer. 

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The First Minister has had to quash rumours of return dates, and has quite humbly admitted that the decision for schools to return or not to return has not yet been taken because we do not yet have the information that would allow us to take that decision in a responsible, informed and considered way”. 

While we do not have enough evidence on whether lockdown measures are helping in the fight against coronavirus, no new decisions can be made. We are stuck in a coin toss: while the coin is in the air all possibilities are equal, but until it lands none can happen. So, we continue to live day-to-day with no idea when, or how, things will change.

During his time in prison the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi. Paul is in a season of waiting, not knowing when, or if, he will be free again. Reading through this brief letter, I think there are three key lessons we can take away if we are struggling with staying at home.

  1. Paul interacts with those with whom he is in proximity – the prison guards and his fellow prisoners (1:12 – 14). Maybe you’re home with family, flatmates or a partner – what would it look like for you to share your hope with them? Not to proselytise but offer to pray for those who are anxious. If you’re living alone, could you offer to do this with friends while catching up with them online or over the phone?
  2. The church in Philippi share in Paul’s trouble (4:14). Although he has managed to find contentment in all things, Paul is grateful for the church sending him support and faithfully praying for him. The church is not a building, but a body of believers. Now is a great time to reach out and ask someone at church to catch up over a virtual coffee and support each other that way.
  3. Paul remains Christ-focused (3:14), even in his trial. On the toughest days of lockdown, remembering what Jesus has done for His church and remaining focused on Him as the goal gives me strength. We would do well to remind ourselves that this isn’t a pause on real life but an opportunity to grow where we are as we wrestle with our own lament and struggle. I’ve found it important to re-centre my own goals – not to some end-date, but on Christ.

Lockdown measures have been extended, and they may well be extended again at the next review. While we don’t have an end date in sight, looking to Jesus reminds me that better days are coming. I look forward to coming out the other side of lockdown closer and more reliant on Him.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Reading through this brief letter, I think there are three key lessons we can take away if we are struggling with staying at home.