Everywhere we turn there is alarming news. Well, almost everywhere. At the market as we wait in line, on social media, on the television and in the newspaper. We don’t have to look hard to find it. We are, in fact, regularly assaulted with it.
Joni Eareckson Tada recalls her friend, Steve Estes, once saying to her,
“God permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves.”
Joni is something of an expert on finding purpose through suffering, having been paralyzed at 17 in a tragic diving accident. (At 70, she is one of my personal heroes. Google her. She’s worth knowing.)
Maybe, in the light of this global pandemic, we should consider exactly what our creator might be endeavoring to accomplish in the midst of it. Surely He hates the suffering this virus has caused, the grief, the pain and the uncertainty. Yet, He loves us. How might He be using these times to bring about good?
What if these these times cause us to cease our constant motion, to sit in silence, to consider the paths we are on and the things we esteem so highly?What if He wants to restore our very souls? In order to do so, we may need to realign our thoughts, our attention and our focus. We may need to lean into the truth in ways we’ve never considered before. We may be need to be transformed by the renewing of our very minds.
To hear God’s truth over the cacophony of the world requires intentionality. We can either choose to listen to all the noise, fear, sarcasm, grumbling or frustration around us, or we can fix our eyes on the author and finisher of our salvation. There is a hope that never fails. There is comfort in the storm. There is strength in our weakness.
We are aliens here. As the old hymn says, “this world is not my home.” We would be wise to consider this as we mourn the losses of the simple comforts we once took for granted as well as the grief we feel at so much suffering around us. While we pass through these unprecedented times, the troubles, challenges and sorrows of this life are inevitable. Valleys will come, but valleys are temporary. Our God is eternal.
What if we decide to say “no?” No to fear, to complaining, to whining, to melancholy and to self-pity. Let’s grieve what must be grieved, but let’s be changed for the good by the challenges before us. Let’s walk through this valley together, heads held high, exuding hope and reaching out to encourage one another. Let’s be salt and light. Hard times don’t last forever. Let us fix our gaze on things eternal. For those who endure there is light ahead.
By His grace, we will stand on mountain tops again.