Politics, masks, vaccines, the economy. Are these the metrics of life as we know it? Life and death and everything in between have been on the forefront of our collective minds for weeks now. The stakes suddenly got higher and we now have so much more to lose.
Or do we? Death has always been around the corner–what are 80 or 90 years compared to eternity? Jobs, relationships, and health have never come with a lifetime warranty. But perhaps what has changed in the past weeks is our awareness of how fragile the pillars of our lives are, how little is actually within our control.
VCS has been on Easter Break this week, and so I’ve had extra time to think about all that’s happened recently. These verses came to mind:
“O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them,
mere mortals that you should think about them?
For they are like a breath of air;
their days are like a passing shadow.” (Psalm 144:3-4, NLT)
What does God owe us during shelter in place? What can we rightfully claim from the world and each other? How much of who we are, what we own and what we enjoy is only by the unmerited mercy and bounty of God?
Nothing, nothing, everything.
I find that I need to be careful not to feel entitled to things for which I actually have no entitlement. All the goodness to be found in life comes not from myself, or from others, but from God:
“So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” (James 1:16-18, NLT)
Hope during times of peace is an ideal; hope during duress is real.
Strength, character, faith, joy, peace, kindness, and a host of other godly virtues can be tested and revealed now in our lives in ways that simply would not have been possible before. Our losses during this time are greater–for some of us, immensely more so–but so is our experience of redemption in Christ.
Apart from Him, these days only serve to remind us how contingent our lease on life is. With Him, these days and all earthly days to follow are just the prelude to our true life.
And for that–for Who He Is and all that He’s done–there’s everything to thank Him for, coronavirus notwithstanding.
10 thoughts on “Every Good and Perfect Gift”
Thank you, Ivan, for your eloquent reminder of the fragility of our lives and all the good gifts that come from God’s hand of which we are completely undeserving. Your words filled with wisdom and a godly perspective have even more impact because of the unwavering faith we have seen you have live out transparently during these last three painful years. You and Grace bless each of us who read your blog and inspire us to walk by faith in obedience to our loving Father. May He continue to uphold, strengthen, and comfort you both!
Thanks so much! Hope all of you are well, God bless 🙂
Dear Ivan – so very blessed in your post today. I am going to share it with my students as well. You and Grace continue to inspire me always. Miss you always and forever.
Thanks so much for sharing this post! We miss you too. God bless 🙂
You and Grace are certainly a testimony to God’s faithfulness and grace in times of difficult days. When you two were in college I watched you play the piano with precision when I would listen to the rehearsals while my husband was in a trustee meeting. We all had no idea what you would be going through in the following years. You and Grace have shown how to trust the Lord every day, even every minute, as you have gone through these hard three years. You are a blessing to so many others as you have shown what God can do with lives submitted to Him. Thank you for sharing so much through this blog. Praying for both of you.
Thanks so much! I remember those rehearsals very well 🙂 God bless!
Thank you, Ivan and Grace, for your definitely-tried-and-very-true perspective! The same faithful God who has guided you through hard trials these past few years, and who has guided all of us, remains trustworthy!
Luke got to visit CBU over February break, and loved it. After all we have seen of how God poured into both of you during your CBU years, we are praying about God’s guidance related to CBU!
I loved my time at CBU! Will pray for guidance for Luke too 🙂
Great reminder to be thankful for what we have and know it’s a blessing not an entitlement. “God is Good all the time, and then some.”
Amen! God bless 🙂