Chalk it up to years of training in Biblical
interpretation or maybe just too much time watching Sesame Street as
a child (Can’t you just hear the tune, “One of these things is
not like the others. Which one is different? Do you know?”)
There are a few things happening, in our community, our nation, and
our world that have captured my attention recently. On the surface,
they are nothing alike, but a look a little closer and I believe
you’ll see a shared underlying truth.
- Storms blew through Nashville a couple of weeks ago that caused
devastation, loss of life, and disrupted the pulse of a major US
- Road construction crews are back on the job in the Midwest. Of
course, a joke very often told about Illinois, Michigan, and
neighboring states is that we only have 2 seasons: winter and road
- Our local Wal-Mart has been undergoing an extensive re-fit and
shuffling of merchandise, making it challenging to know where to
locate anything. For several weeks now I’ve seen plenty of impatient
and frustrated customers and equally frustrated and frazzled store
associates. And I’ve chuckled more than once when I’ve heard a
friendly, but on-the-brink cashier ask kindly, “Did you find
everything you were looking for today?”
- Of course, without question, the elephant in the room demands
consideration as well. COVID-19 has been in the news for a while,
but as confirmed cases get closer and closer to home panic has
ensued. Toilet tissue is hard to come by. Schools are closed. Events
are cancelled. Churches are worshiping virtually in order to promote
social distancing. Stadiums are empty. The word ‘madness’ should be
referring to tournament play right now, but it seems to be
describing every other aspect of life instead.
Ready to play the game with me? What do these things have in common?
Did you say that they are all disruptive? Annoying? Inconvenient? If
you did, you were right. But if you squint really hard, I think
there is an even better point of similarity – they are all
temporary. Some are merely bothersome, some are truly
dangerous and devastating, but none of them will last forever.
Someone once wisely said that the most precious words in the Bible
are, “… and it came to pass.” It didn’t come to stay.
It may seem like an eternity, but trust me, it’s not.
[to top of second column]
Do you know what is forever? Life. We have all been
crafted by God in a weird and wonderful admixture of the elements of
the earth and His very own breath. We were made to be a precious
reflection of Him. But from the beginning, humanity has insisted on
being its own god, spiritually distancing ourselves from the very
source of life. Tragically, that means when our dust, our mortal
component, dies off there is no way to be brought back to Him. Life
goes on, but forever a separated, tortured, and fear-filled shadow
of what it was meant to be; a storm, so to speak, that never ends.
The great news is that God sent someone to rescue us – His very own
Son! Jesus’ death has made life possible once again because He is
risen, the one and only conqueror of death! There is a way out.
There is hope. The Bible says that Heaven and Hell are forever. If
there is one thing that our current temporary situation should teach
us it’s this: now is the time to prepare for that ultimate reality.
Those who put their faith in the living Lord Jesus Christ will have
nothing to fear. I pray you choose to accept His freely offered gift
of life beyond every temporal, and eternal, terror. In other words,
I pray you choose to celebrate Easter with your own resurrection.
St. Paul said it like this:
“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many
sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world,
obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.
He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey
God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate
desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we
were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so
rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were
dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from
the dead.” - Ephesians 2:1-5 NLT
That sounds like a reason for a Happy Easter to me!