In our flesh, in our insecurity, in our anxiety, we know very well what we should be doing. And we hate the fact that our will sides more often with our flesh than it does with our mind, where we have stored what we know is true.
But should is really where the beauty lies. We cannot escape the indicatives and the imperatives. The Scriptures are full of should statements, so to hate should is to hate what God has told us in this wonderful letter of love to his children.
Should is there because of could.
The world cannot dislodge our footing in Christ. He is steadfast and so are his promises, more than anything we could find from this present vapid and groundless age. He has said he will complete the work he has begun in us.
I woke up this morning and checked my investment portfolio. It’s something I do as often as I can to … More
He doesn’t owe us the birds singing or the flowers budding or the smiles or the warm connections. But he gives them to us because he loves us and he doesn’t want us to panic or be anxious. They are the tokens that his promises of relief and redemption are true.
We all love to re-watch our favorite movie scenes, including the suspenseful ones, and we experience all the nervousness and anxiety all over again as if it’s the first time. It’s almost irrational because we are behaving as if we are in the dark about something we actually know quite a bit about. In part, that’s because it doesn’t have anything to do with what we don’t know, but how we are perceiving in the moment what we generally know. It’s also because we know all too well that death is ultimately inescapable, no matter how many times the hero thwarts it in repeat showings.
How is someone who can’t even wrangle the chaos in her own home supposed to be able to handle the unknown? Microscopic droplets in the air? We’re talking about kids who lick railings and handle everything they can reach from a shopping cart. Losing control is no longer the fear, but never regaining it. Safety becomes a stranger. Confidence that if we just know enough about this virus we can fight it slips away with every news update. Here we are, just a few weeks in and who knows how many weeks to go, and I can surely say I’ve failed this test already.
I know the temptation there is to feel the drudgery or the wastefulness of life, especially in this time of stay-at-home orders, economic uncertainty, an invisible microbial enemy, the endless waiting for a positive turn in the news, the exponentially greater hazard for those in at-risk situations (whether health, abusive environment, trafficked, in poverty).
The good news of Jesus’s reconciling and restoring acts of atonement and resurrection is reflected in the tiny minutiae of stories like yours and mine.
Some of us cope by making lists of what to do in the worst-case scenario. We bury ourselves in research and follow up on our discoveries with changes in where we shop, how we cook, what products we use, etc. Lists and rules and preventatives will save us, and we tend to think this not because they actually will but because just doing something measurable seems more productive than just doing something immeasurable, something that doesn’t have results that can be seen or quantified, something like trusting God.
Over 1500 years ago, a group of seafaring raiders from an island known in its time as “the end of the world” kidnapped the son of a wealthy merchant and crossed the Irish Sea to sell him as a slave, and in the process, changed the history of its nation and its people forever.
Death cannot be avoided, but the sting of death can.