Wishing, Wringing, or Washing?

These are indeed strange, serious, and vulnerable times. For the elderly the unseen viral enemy can be cruel and harsh. For everyone, confronting its touch is filled with unknown consequences. It’s no time to be cavalier. The threat is real and the consequences for all is as wide ranging as one can imagine. Plans, families, travel, business, employment, isolation, loneliness, fear, death, and the long unknown of it all.

It’s our turn. How do we live in such a time as this?

Throughout history there have been pandemics, wars, exploitation, and atrocities on every continent and among every tribe and nation. Wishing it would all just disappear accomplishes nothing. Wringing our hands in fear and despair is futile. Washing hands often and thoroughly kills the virus, protects us individually, and helps break the cycle of impacting others – eventually.

This Caronavirus has demonstrated so vividly our common humanity, our shared vulnerability, and in fact how much we have in common as human beings across the globe. We all breath, sneeze, cough, get infected, live and die. It matters not the race, the nation, the political persuasion, the gender, the education, the economic status or the spiritual belief. The virus strips us down to the bare bones of our God created and gifted human being. And it does so in a way that fills us with fear, spreads like the Australian wildfires, and leads to isolation and even death. Such is the nature of sickness in a fallen world.

Is it God’s will? Of course not. He doesn’t make it, store it, or dispense it – ever. Sickness is an earth-born reality symptomatic of our polluted environment and our sadly self-serving agendas. It is indiscriminate, opportunistic, needs the host to survive, and is never redemptive, caring, or just. All the hallmarks of evil, darkness, and rebellious independence – on earth as never in heaven.

Why doesn’t God do something? He does, He has, and He will. But He doesn’t flick switches, pull levers, wave wands, and jump to attention when we cry out or shake angry fists. He loves with a tenderness and passion the like of which none of us on earth have every fully experienced and certainly find hard to comprehend and lean into with confidence.

Just at the Caronavirus began with one person and then insidiously spread, so God’s love came to earth in one ‘uninfected’ person. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection was the antidote from heaven for infected human hearts, distorted human thinking, and selfish human motives. Stuff that was destroying lives in every tribe and every nation. The ‘sin’ virus has been the longest most deadly pandemic spanning human history.

One human filled with the heavenly virus of God’s love, hope, and life changed the course of human history. When Jesus walked the earth leprosy was an infection that left the afflicted ostracized, without hope, in rags on the outskirts of society. People were terrified of being touched by a leper. Jesus, filled with the power and presence of God’s kingdom (on earth as in heaven) touched the lepers and infected them with healing and health.

Imagine if all followers of Jesus understood who they are and what they carry. The Kingdom within them – because the Spirit of the Lord is upon them/us. In their presence fear flees, hope rises, despair withers, and confidence abounds; even the sick get healed.

That doesn’t mean we don’t follow directives for social distancing. It doesn’t mean ‘naming and claiming’ in the name of Jesus’ and calling it faith. It does mean recognizing who we are and asking God to use us to spread a counter-infection of kindness, consideration, and faith-filled love to those around us. Being sensitive to needs, listening to concerns and fears, encouraging with friendship and prayer. Being practical when helpful and continuing to wash our hands.

from The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse. Charlie Mackesy

God’s light always shines brightest in the darkest of times. Remember Paul, chained in prison? Underground, dark, damp and cold. A prisoner chained in an unfair and totally unjust situation with little hope of rescue. He re-framed his imprisonment into an opportunity to share the love of Jesus in person, or by letters (that would eventually become a significant portion of our Bible).

Do these words from Paul’s letter to the Philippians sound afraid, self-pitying, or angry?

I want you to know, dear ones, what has happened to me has not hindered, but helped my ministry of preaching the gospel, causing it to expand and spread to many people. For now the elite Roman guards and government officials overseeing my imprisonment have plainly recognized that I am here because of my love for the Anointed One. And what I’m going through has actually caused many believers to become even more courageous in the Lord and to be bold and passionate to preach the Word of God, all because of my chains. (Philippians 1:12-14)

In fact Jesus’ entire life was lived in circumstances we’d find oppressive, unjust, restricting and intolerable. Christianity has never been about escapism, wishful thinking, or hand-wringing fear. Jesus promised that nothing can separate us from His love and that in this world we will face trials. That’s what His life was all about. God present to equip and empower in the midst of uncertainty, chaos, and the unknown. And later Paul testified to the same reality when God’s Spirit lives within; echoing the words of Jesus.

 “Yet I am never alone, for the Father is always with me.  And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” John 16: 32-33

Now it’s our turn to experience, discover, and know.

Let’s ask God to show us how to use our present circumstances to bring life and light. Maybe it’s doing a course online we’ve been wanting to do for ages. Perhaps it’s completing projects around the house. It could mean writing some letters to people we’ve not been in touch with for a while; even mending some fences or repairing broken bridges in relationships. It probably means strengthening relationships at home – which is always a good thing.

In this season of our uniquely unveiled shared humanity, rather than wishing we were somewhere else lets embrace the moment with hope and anticipation. Instead of hand wringing fear let’s rest in the faithfulness of God and His love and presence with us – always. And after we’ve washed our hands repeatedly let’s go the extra mile and practice some foot-washing (metaphorically speaking) by looking out for others.

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. Ephesians 3:21

Be still
Be still and know that
In stillness and quiet
That I am the Lord

Let go
Let go of your worries
Only one thing is needed
Just be still and know
Be still and know
That I am the Lord

And be still
Be still and know that
In stillness and quiet
That I am the Lord

And let go
Let go of your worries
Only one thing is needed
Just be still and know
Be still and know
That I am the Lord
Be still and know
That I am the Lord

Be still
Be still and know that
In stillness and quiet
That I am the Lord

And let go
Let go of your worries
Only one thing is needed
Just be still and know
Yeah be still and know
That I am the Lord

Oh, be still and know
That I am the Lord

Who saves you
Who loves you
With undying love
With an everlasting love
I am the Lord
I am the Lord
Who leads you
Who heals you
I am the Lord

Hey, yes I am the Lord
Hey, be still and know
Oh, that I am the Lord
I am the Lord

Be still
Be still and know that
In stillness and quiet
That I am the Lord

You can let go
Let go of your worries
Only one thing is needed
Just be still and know
Be still and know

John Cox

Offering Pastoral Counselling to encourage, heal, transform, and give hope.

3 comments

  • Good stuff in a world held in utter contempt of self and ignorance of that love you talk about here, gratitude that our lives should be accountable to that fact.
    I will always the utmost respect for someone that has really helped so many thank you,you are sorrily missed amongst us , all the very best friend!!

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s