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Finding hope from halfway around the world

May 8, 2020 - Dr. Ryan Denison

Stadium seats are empty as a part of precaution against the new coronavirus during a baseball game between Hanwha Eagles and SK Wyverns in Incheon, South Korea, May 5, 2020.

Finding hope from halfway around the world

Stadium seats are empty as a part of precaution against the new coronavirus during a baseball game between Hanwha Eagles and SK Wyverns in Incheon, South Korea, May 5, 2020.

Although the coronavirus began garnering global attention several months before much of the world shut down, for many, the reality of the threat didn’t hit until the NBA announced it was suspending its season beginning March 12. Events quickly escalated from there to the point that the life we knew at the start of the year seemed, in many ways, unrecognizable.

Perhaps that’s why ESPN‘s recent agreement to begin airing Korean Baseball Organization games has become a national story. While sports may not be an interest for everyone, live baseball games, even those played halfway across the world, signify for many a larger hope that a return to some semblance of normalcy might not be as far off as it often seems. There’s something powerful in those connections to a better, more carefree time, and people across the country have been tuning in during the wee hours of the morning to be part of it.

Most of the games air live sometime between 1:00 and 5:30 in the morning EST, with replays available online and later in the afternoon. The Athletic‘s Levi Weaver even penned an article helping MLB fan bases decide which teams most resemble their own to add a more personal touch to the experience.

But, whether you plan on following along with the KBO season or will forget its existence altogether as soon as you’re done with this article, the desire for hope and a hint of normalcy amidst the chaos of COVID-19 is important for all of us to note.

The difference two months makes

As restrictions begin to loosen across the country and our communities can cautiously begin the process of redefining what life looks like after the onset of a global pandemic, the temptation for many will be to try to pick up the pieces of life to put the puzzle back together as close to its original form as possible. And that’s understandable.

However, it’s also impossible.

Our experiences with the coronavirus have changed us all, perhaps in ways that we won’t fully understand for years. And while our first instinct may be to run back to what seems familiar, one of the ways I believe God’s going to redeem this pandemic is by taking advantage of the fact that many of us are more malleable than we’ve been for quite some time.

The same is true of those around us.

Many people who may never have set foot in a church in February have spent the last two months watching sermons online. Neighbors who were little more than strangers before we sheltered in place are familiar faces with familiar stories now. And friends and family we may have taken for granted at the start of the year are now among the people we most long to see.

While it’s sad that it took a pandemic to help us truly appreciate the people and freedoms we previously took for granted, it would be downright tragic if we just went back to the way things were without allowing those experiences to help us become better people, better Christians, and better ministers of the gospel to those God has placed in our lives.

As we begin to reengage with the world outside our homes, let’s grant God the freedom to reshape our interactions and our priorities in light of the lessons we’ve learned over the last two months.

All of us have changed to some degree. Let the Lord help you make sure it’s for the better.

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