We are certainly living in a bizarre time. Not quite post-apocalyptic, but definitely not Norman Rockwell either. Perhaps Orson Welles? Try watching the first thirty minutes of Avengers: Endgame and then go for a walk and see if you don’t notice some correlations.
It is now commonplace to see commercials for products advising you how to make purchases from the safety of your home. Companies are telling us what they are doing to maintain health standards in the crisis. New terms such as social distancing and flatten the curve have become common vernacular in our homes. Masks and respirators are becoming a regular part of getting dressed to go out, so much so, that we now have designer masks and I’m starting to see family photos where everyone is masked up. Smile! Oh, never mind.
In the surreal world that is developing around us, we’re all just trying to navigate this strange life. Each week seems to bring something new that we must adapt to as the parameters of the former week seem to have evolved. Do you remember when we first thought this was going to be a two-week thing and so many people were looking forward to staying home with the family with snacks and Netflix like it was an extended snow-day? Now you have binged watched everything, eaten all of the snacks, and are wondering how you are going to survive homeschooling your children. (Homeschool moms everywhere are now grinning ear to ear. You just can’t tell because they have masks on.)
We certainly did not expect all of this when the ball dropped in Times Square announcing the arrival of 2020. But that’s just it; we never really know what lies ahead in a year.
Today marks four years since my father passed away. As I was looking at my past Facebook posts for this day I was intrigued by my posts for April 16th prior to 2016. Most were whimsical comments. One of them, two years prior, recounted how an oncoming car had lost control and nearly hit me head on. Of course, I had no idea that on that date, two years later, my dad would be going home to be with the Lord.
My point is, that we just don’t know all the details that the future holds for us. Many times, the unforeseen circumstances that a particular year may hold affect only lives and families on a personal level. A death in the family, an illness, or the loss of employment are all examples of that. There are other times when a disaster may strike affecting a large community of people, like a hurricane or an earthquake. However, on occasion, a year may hold in its hand a card that will affect the entire world, such as a world war or… a pandemic.
James 4:13-15 advises us, “13 Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” The point being made is that because we do not know what tomorrow will bring, we should be more mindful of He who does know exactly what tomorrow brings.
So, what shall we do as the world turns upside-down in this bizarre and uncharted territory? I believe the first thing we need to settle in our hearts is that this is not the final time that the world we know will be completely disrupted. While I do not wish to compare God to a drill sergeant, if you have ever served in the military and had your nicely made-up bunk tossed, you’ll be able to relate to this better. It is evident throughout history, that God allows mankind to indulge in more and more sin and rebellion against Him through many generations. He allows us to get comfortable to the place where we ignore Him completely, and then He steps into history and upsets our apple cart, if for nothing more than to reveal how fragile we truly are. It’s not something He does out of spite or cruelty, but instead, to put our grand hubris in check. Scoff if you wish, but as we near the end of this age, there are more wake-up calls to come.
Secondly, I would encourage you to begin thinking beyond this little world and the fragile lifestyle we have constructed. It is evident that it can so easily be upset because it is not nearly as stable as we like to pretend that it is. There is, however, an eternity beyond this life and an eternal God who holds all of time in His hands. Proverbs 23:18 – “For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.” The Lord knows our entire story, from beginning to end… and beyond. Surely, He is able to navigate us through it, no matter what the year holds, if we will simply follow Him.
Until next time, may your coffee and contemplations be rich and fulfilling.