Since I wrote this blog a week ago, it seems as if absolutely everything in our world has changed.
I don’t need to list the details of how COVID19 has changed our world because by the time this posts, they will have changed again. Even in an age when my words can be disseminated almost instantly, by the time you read them, they could very well be obsolete, irrelevant, even untrue.
And that’s a difficult situation for human beings to cope with. We depend on things staying relatively stable. We have a system, a certain way of doing things that works for us. When those things no longer work for us, there is a pain, resistance, searching for ways to avoid the change, denial, even anger…
Change is hard.
And, in this particular situation, how do we separate what is reasonable and prudent and true from paranoia, hype, and over-reaction? From what I can tell with the limited intelligence God gave me, there is some of all of that out there.
I’m currently involved in a Bible study called Core 52. It aims to teach 52 core concepts in the Bible in 52 weeks. Last week, we were studying the 23rd Psalm.
Now, most of us think of Psalm 23 as a psalm of comfort, and it is. I think I read somewhere that it is the most commonly used Bible verse at funerals. And that makes sense.
But as I read through it before this whole coronavirus thing blew up in our faces, I came to believe it should be read almost with defiance in one’s voice –a taunt like David shouted at Goliath.
Let’s see if I can convey what I mean by doing a Eugene Peterson-style paraphrase:
The LORD is my shepherd! I shall NOT be in want!
He makes it possible for me to lay down in green pastures and beside still waters.
He restores my very soul.
He leads me on paths of righteousness for the glory of HIS name!
And, yes, even though I may end up walking through the very valley of the shadow of death on this journey,
For HIS weapons and HIS guidance and HIS direction guide me and comfort me!
The LORD GOD prepares a banquet for me in the very presence of my enemies!
He anoints my head with oil in love and mercy.
My cup overflows with His goodness and abundance!
And I know that this goodness and mercy and all these things will follow me all the days of my life,
Until I live with Him in His house forever!
Late on Saturday night, (by which I mean about 10:25 p.m.) I heard Kinship Christian Radio Announcer Steve Ware talking about worry and worship. He was quoting pastor Rick Warren and the gist of what he was saying was that worship and worry are incompatible with each other. If you are worrying, you are not worshiping God. If you are worshiping God, you are not worrying.
Now is the time, when all the world that is without God is worrying about what will happen next, for Christians to be seen worshiping God and going forth without fear. Now is the time when we should be offering to pick up groceries or run errands for the elderly. Now is the time when we should be offering sacrifice and comfort and confidence and level-headedness and joy (Yes I said JOY!) to others. Now is the time to show that these comparatively small and momentary afflictions really are nothing in the face of the eternal weight of glory that lies before us. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
As one of my best pastor friends said about the whole situation, “I aint skeered.”
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)