Category: Hope

OK Now I am Free and Without Defect —- But there’s a Pandemic!

In my last post, I showed how we are declared without defect and freed because of what Jesus did, and we got permission to enter God’s Most Holy Place.

And I promised to explain some of what that meant in real life in my next post, and I would have talked about a refreshed Christian life during normal times. But there’s been quite a change since I wrote that post.Within two weeks, we suddenly entered a time of pandemic, lockdowns, and panic!

Within two weeks, we suddenly entered a time of pandemic, lockdowns, and panic!

I did not have a particularly good start adapting to that change.  My attitude was Boo-hoo, there’s so much I can’t do. I miss March madness! I can’t go to the restaurant with my wife! I can’t join my friends in fellowship groups! Indeed, I saw a video from last month of one of our worship services – did you ever take the greeting time for granted? Oh the handshakes and hugs!  

So what does entering into the holy place have to do with the corona virus?

First, I needed reminding that that following Jesus is not a guarantee that we have a stable life with no unexpected changes. I was not able to find a verse where Jesus says if you keep his commands you are guaranteed to have health and wealth and no Corona virus.

But I can find where Jesus talks like this:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27)

In the middle of writing my blog the dove in today’s picture was at my window cooing. Perhaps he’s a reminder that we will come out of this and there will be a time of peace………

Following Jesus leads to the joy of walking intimately with God and having peace outside of the crazed events that are happening. That’s a peace that endures during ongoing tests and trials.

And I like being reminded that I am not on my own. I am thankful that online communities using Zoom and Google Hangout are springing up to cut down on our isolation.

At our church, our services are now online only, with only the pastor and worship team there live.  A chat scrolls on the right side of the screen, allowing us to see a virtual congregation. Here is the link for our streamed services: https://thechapelnj.churchonline.org/

 Scripture doesn’t command me to thank God for this season, but it does ask me to keep thanking God during this season.  My prayer is that anyone reading this can take courage. You are not on your own!

Breathing in Bugs

Finally our long hot humid oppressive suffocating summer has ended, and fall has begun. Towards the end of summer I set an unpleasant, unofficial, new personal record. Running in Mountain Lakes early one morning, I sucked in yet another bug. Reminded me of when my wife and I went to a bluegrass concert in Overpeck Park in the Meadowlands back when we lived in Bergen County. One  band had to stop their set early—-the poor woman who was their lead vocalist had breathed in one bug too many !

My bug-breathing led me to reflect more generally on when things seem to just happen to us.  Where it is not our choice—and yet —stuff happens. Yes, my bug-sucking is  a picture of what it means to be living in a fallen world.  After all, when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they didn’t have to worry about breathing in bugs on their morning runs.

My bug-sucking is an example of what economists calls a negative externality. It’s when someone else’s activities harm you and cost you and you’re not compensated — like a  nearby factory that creates stinky toxic smoke that you breathe in. Or someone doesn’t clear their yard of places where bugs breed.

When that happens, what are  our choices ?

Sue the bums? Call the EPA?

Or just put up with it?

You mean we can’t always fight it? Yes, sometimes we need to put up with certain crappy things that are out of our control.

At first glance that sounds pretty depressing, doesn’t it ? And it would stay so if we didn’t believe that things will be finally set right. I’m not advocating inert passivity when we should act — but sometimes there really is no action we can take. (I mean, should I have run with a netting over my face?)

But we believe that Christ will set all things right, if not in this life then in the next. We have cause for optimism in spite of the slop. That’s what Christian hope is all about !