The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the pollen is falling like southern snow. But everything is different. The world is mourning. My kids are playing and laughing in the other room, and we are okay. I am grateful for our current circumstances and simultaneously experiencing deep deep grief. We are beyond sports and trips being cancelled, we have passed minor discomforts. Kids are not in school, and people are not at work. Hospitals at various levels are filling up with the sick, and still others are out of money and a job. I can go on about the impoverished, abused and the isolated extended victims of this crisis, but you needn’t look far to see it for yourselves.
Six months ago, I was praying, and God whispered a word into my spirit that I knew was not of my own mind. The word frightened me. I felt silly but also convicted. I don’t doubt God, I don’t think I do, but I doubt people. If history is our teacher, we know we can’t go very far or very long before we mess something up again. But then again, Jesus said he came for the sick. Hand raised. I reluctantly texted two friends the word and then tucked it away in prayer, asking God to help my fear and unbelief.
A lot of people believe in God. A lot of people pray to God. But a lot of people still need Jesus. And the plan has always been Jesus.
Jesus’ actions on the cross and his resurrection three days later moved the church from a building to a body. A body of people. Broken people that he is constantly mending and saving over and over until he comes again.
This moment in time provides those who believe an opportunity to stand out. The body of Christ was never meant to blend in. But to be marked by faith, hope and love. To be marked by extravagant kindness. To be marked by humility and repentance, to follow a master other than ourselves. Not marked by perfectionism, fear or even positivity but by Jesus. James 4:14 says, “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow.” The fact is we don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we never did to begin with. What should mark us most is that when we need answers we turn to God’s Word. Watch the news, yes. Read articles, sure. Use common sense, and make wise choices. But let us choose to be consumed by the Word of God and not be ashamed to proclaim it to a world looking for answers. The most amazing thing about the Bible is the more you dig in, the more you discover. It is truly living and active, able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. This hardship will end, but instead of just finishing Netflix, I hope to know more about the author and finisher of my faith.
We are made to worship. The problem is, we often worship the wrong things. Believers and nonbelievers alike. I do not want to go back to normal. I want to go back to better. Full grateful hearts that don’t take for granted trips to grocery stores, packing lunches, Sunday mornings, employment, and big ole bear hugs. While I bet we could all agree to that sentiment, I think God wants more, because he knows we are forgetful people that often return to our old ways.
God wants what he has wanted from his people since the beginning of our creation. He wants our hearts. He wants our worship. And He alone is worthy.
Today I am not afraid of the word, I long for it. I long for the spirit of the Lord which gives us not a spirit of fear but of power, love and self control. Unfortunately, it’s often in times of great despair that people’s hearts are more open to receive the grace of God because the invisible gods we worship of control and comfort vanish, and we are left to wonder what really matters.
When this is over and the church doors are open, my prayer is that people will flock back to the altar to worship Jesus with great abandon. Until that day comes, worship right where you are friend, it’s what you were made to do.