Before every rocket launch, there is a lengthy time of preparation. The crew needs to be equipped for their flight, communication systems tested, fuel loaded, trajectory calculated. There is a lot of advice out there on how to get through this Covid 19 quarantine period. It’s been a good time to rest, reorganize our lives, to scale back and simplify. But at some point, we have to wonder, “What now?” What do you do after the closets are all cleaned out and you’ve watched everything on Netflix? What if we looked at this time of quarantine not so much as a roadblock as a launching pad? The world we step into after this pandemic will be fundamentally different. What if we used this time to prepare ourselves for what comes next? We have been given this time apart to invest, not waste. We are in the operating room, not the waiting room, and the surgery we undergo now can strengthen us for this next calling. “For we are God’s handiwork,” it says in Ephesians, “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We are not victims of this circumstance. On the contrary, we have been given a mission to do good works already lovingly chosen for us. I remember a helpful exercise we went through in a marriage class many years ago. We had to write a family mission statement. What was our purpose as a family? Was it just to love each other, or could God have something bigger in mind? We already knew that God had called us to a life of hospitality; of welcoming the stranger into our family circle. But discussing that together as a family and putting it in writing clarified it for us, and drew our children into living out this mission as well. We were that family that always had extra people at our table or in the guest room. In 27 years we welcomed well over 300 people into our home from all over the world. We were already well into the lifestyle of hospitality when we went through the exercise of forming a family mission statement, but the act of putting it down on paper helped us to be more intentional with the direction God was taking us, and energized us to continue with purpose. You might not be in a position to welcome the world to your table, but how can you become better equipped to serve God and your neighbor both now and in the new world that Covid 19 is creating? What are the dreams that God has given you that have been lying dormant in a corner of your soul? Can they be refreshed or repurposed in ways that will bring glory to God in this generation? Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” We live in a world where people are hungry – deeply hungry – for meaning, for love. For kindness. For authenticity. The world is urging us right now to focus on ourselves and how to get through this. But what if we focused outward instead of inward? What if we spent this time preparing to launch?