Are you ready to scream yet? I know this is getting to me. The peace has been constant but the constraints are getting tighter and tighter. Still no toilet paper?? Where is this stuff going? I understand no school for the rest of the year, but oh my! I drove through Saline County this past week and was afraid to stop and get something to eat. You know it’s bad when you’re afraid to stop and get some chicken nuggets! I believe one of the greatest helps during this time is reminding ourselves of the constants; the things that will never change.
What are the constants in your life? What about things like grace, hope and love? Are they close enough to the forefront that they even get to weigh in on your decisions or are they shoved into the back closet? Why do these things matter right now?
If you do not have any regard for the Lord they do not matter. If you are the strongest entity in your life, if you are set on being the center of attention in your circle of influence, if you lay in bed at night plotting your next rebellious step…these things do not matter to you. But if you have the least inkling that there is a God in Heaven who loves you and wants to protect you, things like love, grace and hope matter tremendously.
For thousands of years humanity stumbled along in darkness, groping for a way out of their troubles. There were glimpses of light, especially through a Middle Eastern people called the Jews, but for the most part the world woke up, went to sleep and died in hopelessness. Then a star appeared and rumors of a King circulated. This King, it was said, was a liberator. He brought peace. He extended life. People flocked to His side. They brought gifts and the sick, hopeful and hopeless all mingled in a series of gatherings large and small. For three years He walked the countryside, healing and preaching and calling people to follow Him. And then the unthinkable happened. He died.
Like shock waves, fear rolled through this people. What would happen now? Would they go back to wandering in the darkness? Every possibility was considered…that is, except the possibility that death could not claim this King. Just like when He was born only faster, rumors flew about the once dead King who was now roaming the streets again. Meals shared. Distances shortened by deep conversation. Embraces held. And then it was over. 40 days and then He was gone, but He wasn’t dead this time. Over 500 people watched Him go up into Heaven on a cloud and heard Him promise a Helper who would shortly come. They waited and prayed. True to His word the Helper did come and everything the King promised came true.
This King is still reigning. His name is Jesus. His Kingdom offers grace, hope and love to us today. His Helper, the Holy Spirit, is still bringing change to lives. This virus is dark but it is not anywhere near as dark as the night our sin claimed the life of Jesus. The fear we feel is strong but it is not nearly as strong as the fear that gripped the world before Jesus came. Will you trust Jesus to bring peace to your storm, light to your darkness, forgiveness for your past and hope for your tomorrow? Will you believe Him when he says He loves you and will never ever leave you?
COVID-19 is not our focus right now. Protecting people, offering truth in the midst of panic, ministering peace where fear seems to run rampant, countering false reports, being centers of compassion…these capture our attention right now. This week is Passion Week. Our focus this week is most definitely not this virus. Our focus is Jesus! He is worthy of all of our attention!
Jesus has come. Our enemy is limping and every tool he has is only partially effective. Yes, viruses are found in his tool belt. The grace, hope and love of God pierce right through any dark effects he might throw our way. Grace says you didn’t cause this but your sin does invite a horrible darkness into your life. If you ask Jesus, He will break through your sin and bring you life. Hope says this is bad but it not forever. There will come a day when we see the Light again. Love says God will not back away from you. You are not alone in this. He loves you enough to forgive you, accept you just like you are and reverse the ugly guarantees sin has made in your life.
Jesus is coming back. He is bringing with Him a complete end to all the effects of sin, shame, guilt and the darkness. That day is not here yet but it is coming! Until then fix your eyes on the King who loves you, forgives you and offers you a bright tomorrow in spite of the air we breathe today.
“Come, Lord Jesus! Come into our lives today and change our hearts! Lift our eyes above the fear and despair we are drowning in! Settle our hearts and show us your love! We love you! Amen!”