[The following post is one of several under the heading of “A New Normal” addressing our response to the Coronavirus outbreak. They are written to the family at Bishop Creek Community Church. I was asked to make them available as an encouragement to all.]
In very short order our lives have been turned upside down. It is surreal. It feels like we are in a B movie or a bad dream. It is reminiscent of the dark days following 9/11, and I would imagine like after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The eeriness only serves to mark our fragility – physically, economically, and emotionally. The enemy has set us on our heels, a little microscopic enemy… only the Coronavirus is something for which we have no counter-attack. We cannot even really see the enemy much less develop a military strategy. We are not simply shooting at a moving target, but at a target, we can’t even see.
As we have seen, in the wake of national havoc, a true judgment of God, Jeremiah writes of devastation of biblical proportions in the book of Lamentations. Nothing that we have seen in the present day even compares to the devastation seen in Judah. Yet, Jeremiah sees the silver lining in the adversity.
Is it judgment of God stuff? I don’t know. Nobody knows; that is above any human pay grade. It is a consequence of the fall, that much is certain. Is the Lord trying to get our attention? Are we in a cloud of His anger? Again, I cannot say. But I do know, and would again assert that I cannot expect a broken world to deliver security, nor can I expect that world to save me.
Jeremiah, once again, helps us to focus upon that from which our hope comes:
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
Therefore I have hope in Him” (Lamentations 3:24).
What I hear Jeremiah saying is, “My portion, my inheritance, my promise is the Lord.” The hope of the Prophet is in Yahweh, not in anybody, anything, or any circumstance.
The Portion is the One who will deliver, if and when He chooses to do so. We look to Him.
“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
Yahweh is both the deliverer, and the blessing Himself; in the short term and in the long run.
The future is unclear as to whether the virus will morph, disappear, or be conquered by medical science. We don’t know. One thing seems certain… once this is in our rear-view mirror (should God so favor us), we will realize those things we have held so dear to our satisfaction, are not as important as we once held them to be. It will force us to re-evaluate what is essential and near to us – Life, relationships, and investments. These things were never our portion.
I would gather as well, that the use of our disposable time may be considered a bit more valuable. We may realize that sporting events, concerts, and entertainment are not essential to happiness. And that most news outlets and Facebook were… are… dispensable. Hopefully, as well, we’ll realize that starlets, “hunka hunkas”, and sports icons are not good sources of values and wisdom. Those things were never our portion.
Right now, the virus has the upper hand… requiring social distancing. And we were simply not meant to, created to, worship in the context of social distancing. But, the difficult news is that we are being forced to do worship a little bit differently. Not a different God, but a different way. I am confident both the catastrophic threat to life, and the panic will, in time, subside. But, until then, our hope is still in God.
Our “portion” was never anything other than God Himself!
That! Church, is the prize!
The world does not know the Lord, they have not accepted the work of Christ. We, as His people, have. Let them see the great confidence we have. Because the Lord is our portion, we have hope.
[The Shepherd’s Echo is a previously published TheShepherdsPen]