Someone might suggest that God made us more adaptable than we might think. It’s been just over a month since the “stay at home” orders were issued and the cultural dominoes began to fall. I think about how every move seemed monumental, every new policy change jolted our sense of security, and how every day seemed strange and surreal, a scramble to try to make sense of all that was coming at us. That was only about 35 days ago.
Nowhere near normal, it’s still a wonder to me how the sense of loss is becoming more accepted and less shocking in a relatively short amount of time. It feels a bit like we’ve hit a plateau on our journey to whatever normal will be like somewhere in the future, even while we acknowledge we’re still far away from resolution. And the unanswered questions mount.
Mistrust comes easily. Hard times have that effect on us. Suspicion lingers about those who would endeavor to exploit fellow citizens in the midst of this situation. Frustrations boil over into outrage as we sense the vulnerability of our social and economic situations. Finger-pointing and blame-shifting grow daily as leaders trudge through the ever-changing landscape of statistics, decision-making and public blowback. Plateau? Perhaps. But far from settled.
While the plateau provides a sense of respite, at the core the same internal stressors remain. Deep inside we know: We’re only one public announcement, one unsettling policy change, or even something as simple as one harsh situation in the parking lot of the grocery store away from the temptation of dread and anxiety we felt just a few weeks ago. Fear cripples us. It muddles our thoughts. And it makes circumstances our master.
The Bible uses this interesting imagery throughout it’s pages: It describes virtue and character as something we “put on” in advance of circumstances. Our feeling-driven hearts pardon our negative emotional state by suggesting that we’re only victims of fate, excusing our damaged condition as unavoidable because of what we’re facing. But Father, always intensely realistic about His children, knows all of this and offers not only grace and mercy when we’re overwhelmed, but offers healing and strength to prepare for uncertainties ahead. I love the way Paul put it in his opening words to the folks in the town of Ephesus, following the description of our messed up human situation with two simple words, “But God...!”
Ephesians 1:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead
in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ -- by grace you have been saved -- and raised us up with him and
seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable
riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Indeed! There is no situation for which He hasn’t already prepared mercy and strength. He knew before it happened. He knows as it’s happening. And He knows where to take from there.
Working through the process of being the man Jesus intentioned for me... while we work through the process of becoming the church Jesus intentioned for us to be