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.