Updated: Sep 29, 2020
What has this virus taken away from you? I can think of a few possibilities: money, health (mental/physical/spiritual), food, family gatherings, school, traditions, freedom, sanity… this list goes on. There isn’t a person alive who has been left unaffected by this virus. In a way, that’s comforting. We’re not alone. But on the other hand, there’s no one who has an outsider’s point of view who can honestly tell us, “It’ll all be okay. You're okay.”
When all of this was unfolding, we were taking punch after punch. One thing after another was taken away. First, it was school, then it was salons, then restaurants, then most everything else including Easter gatherings, end-of-school traditions, weddings, birthday parties, and baby showers. The list goes on. Luckily the changes were spread over the course of a couple of weeks rather than in all one day, but each day came with the dread of, “What will I lose today?” I think it’s perfectly fine to grieve those losses, even the seemingly small things like for us, my daughter’s dance recital, and the art show they normally do at the end of the school year. I feel sad every time I look at the calendar and see the plans we would have had. But I noticed a problem when things kept escalating. When job security came into question and the uncertain future of our health became real, things shifted. It showed me that I base a lot of my security on my finances, health, and routines. And all of those things have either been taken away or stirred up. It feels a bit like we are fish in a pond and some kid just took a stick and stirred up all the sand. Our world just became a mess and we have no vision to find our way. We need someone to hold our hands and guide us through the muck.
24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT)
I know for me, I’ve read this parable in the past and thought, “Yup, I've got it. I’ve put Jesus as my foundation.” But this pandemic has shown me I have some work to do. My whole “house” didn’t fall down, but I was rocked a little harder than I could have been. I think I had about half of my house resting on the foundation of Jesus, and the other half resting on the sands of financial security, health, and control/routines. That part of my house definitely felt some effects of the storm.
I have found comfort in taking “walks with the Lord.” I go walk and pray. I even bring a notebook in case something is revealed to me that I don’t want to forget. During these walks, God has shown me that I was resting in my false security too much. And that’s what it was, false security. I never was truly secure because of money, health, or control. These are all band-aid fixes, like putting a band-aid on a wound that so clearly needs stitches. It may give me the illusion of safety, but seeing how quickly they can be taken away, I see now that they were never reliable sources. The only one we can truly rest on is Jesus. He is the only source of security that cannot be changed, taken away, and won’t falter.
We have no clear view of what the future holds with this virus. Normally this would send me spinning. I have my calendar planned for months ahead. But I have never felt more secure. I keep thinking of the book, “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis. In it, he creates an imaginary/metaphorical world of gray. The people who live there get comfortable in their misery, and are happy to stay there because it’s what they know. They are given the chance to travel to a land of color and perfection, but many don’t take it because it’s unknown and it means they’d have to uproot their normal routines. As the reader, we are fascinated at the people’s need to hold on to something so dull and boring. But C.S. Lewis is trying to demonstrate that we do this while living on earth. This world is what we know, and we’re comfortable. It may not be perfect, borderline miserable, even, but it’s so much easier to just keep doing what we know. But God calls us out of our comfort zone. He calls us to risk for him. He calls us to trust him when things are crazy and life’s routines have been uprooted. He has something better for us if we do this. This world is temporary and we were not made to be permanent residents. We were created to walk with God and to live in his perfect kingdom. Of course, things here on earth will not be comfortable. And if they are, we should be asking ourselves if we are settling with living in the gray world, ignoring the perfect, bountiful, colorful kingdom that we can live in for eternity.
“If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.” C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
Ashlee is a wife and SAHM, an eager follower of Jesus, and a chronically loud-laugher. She loves finding new ways to look at the Bible, in hopes to grow closer to Jesus and to find fresh ways to learn and teach others.
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Below are some links to a study that my women's Bible study group is currently working through, called Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons. We have found it to be extremely timely for what we're going through with this pandemic.
Here are links to The Great Divorce and a study on the book that my group also did a few years ago. The study really helped us understand the metaphor the C.S. Lewis painted.
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