WHENEVER I VISIT HOPE VALLEY (the set of Hallmark’s “When Calls the Heart” television show), I’m always struck by how different things were back in 1915 and in the years following (which is when the show is set).
The antique cook-stove in Elizabeth’s house, the stagecoach pulling into town, the lack of telephones and cars in the early seasons, and the absence of so many other modern conveniences are stark reminders of how things have changed through the years.
But even without all the must-have things we take for granted now, there were important life-lessons from back then, things that many of us have forgotten or ignored as we’ve rushed through our busy days.
The sense of community was one of Hope Valley’s riches.
Whenever tough times arrived, the townspeople came together. They supported each other, gave hands-on help, shared what they had and gave of their time for their friends and neighbors. Best of all, whenever sickness or other hardships came, they prayed for each other.
I’ve been thinking about that these past few weeks as much of our nation has been under stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus. We’ve had to keep away from our co-workers and those we love.
Even hugs and services at our churches have been taken from our lives. Businesses, schools and restaurants are shut down. Streets and parking lots are barren landscapes of asphalt.
We’re back to the basics.
We’re all spending much more time together under our roofs. Families are gathering around the table to eat home-cooked meals, play games and put puzzles together. We’re walking together, talking and laughing. When’s the last time our families have spent that much time together?
During these past weeks we’ve dealt with moments of fear.
We’ve wondered what the future holds and worried about how we’re going to survive financially. We’ve wiped tears away upon learning about family and friends who are waging literal life and death battles against this virus. All this has drawn us more and more to the only One who can help us during this time.
God knows how to get our attention.
As the pace of our days has changed, He’s given us time to spend with Him. To hear His heart and His soft whispers to our soul. To remember sweet promises we learned as children — verses of Scripture that bring comfort and hope during these troubled days.
God has used these weeks to teach us about what’s really important.
Church — and how precious it is for us to go to services each Sunday. Something we’ve often taken for granted, but never will again. Our health — and the reminder that each breath we take is a gift from God. Our families — and the blessing of moments together, of love and the hugs that we never realized, were such priceless treasures … until we couldn’t give or receive them.
And God’s given us the opportunity to turn back to Him.
To not just use Him for a shopping list of what we want, but to dwell in His presence. To draw close to Him. To feel His heartbeat. And to remember that there are people all around us who also need to meet our Jesus or to turn back to the God who loves them — and we’re the ones who can share that message with them.
Because wouldn’t it be amazing when future generations reminisce about this pandemic, that what they remember most was that our faith became contagious and spread throughout the world?
Michelle S. Cox is the co-author of the When God Calls the Heart devotional book series. To learn more, visit www.whenGodcallstheheart.com.