“The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished,” – Titus 1:5 (NIV).

In New Testament times, the remote island of Crete wasn’t a great place to be. The Apostle Paul lamented that “the people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons,” (Titus 1:12 NLT). Yet Paul left his beloved assistant, Titus, there to sort out the fledgling church’s mess.

Squabbles. Angry words. Misunderstandings galore. Similar to what we’re seeing online these days.

Not likely a mission Titus would have voluntarily chosen, but Paul, through the Lord’s guidance, chose him intentionally. He had confidence that Titus would positively influence Crete, rather than Crete negatively influencing Titus.

The Crete you and I get stuck in today isn’t geographical.

No, our Crete is a mindset—a place that may involve isolation, stress or even suffering. A place we don’t necessarily want to be, but our assignment is to stay put until Papa God sends us elsewhere.

Does this sound a little like the island you’ve been stuck on during COVID-19 social distancing and workplace shutdowns?

During our time in Crete, the Almighty may want us—like Titus—to clean up unfinished business or accomplish specific tasks before we move on. Or He may be developing within us the patience and trust necessary for us to accept His will in His timing.

Other qualities Titus honed while in Crete are described in 2 Corinthians 7-8: hard work, earnestness and taking initiative. Titus proved what he was made of in Crete.

Titus was a wonderful role model of how not only to tolerate Crete, but to prosper there. Titus didn’t pout about his ‘unfair’ situation. He realized that his temporary discomfort was allowed by Yahweh to stretch his personal parameters.

Titus recognized he was where he was supposed to be and found joy in submission to God’s omnipotent plan, even when that plan was hard to fathom.

So my friend, how can you apply Titus’ story to your own COVID-19 experience? During this frustrating, unscheduled assignment in Crete, are you taking initiative to put unfinished things in order?

It might be a good place to start.