So, by now we know that everything has changed. The old normal no longer exists and the new normal is only beginning to come into focus. But what we’re experiencing between the old and new normal looks to me a lot like the Apocalypse. Streets are empty, March Madness has become March Sadness and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo has been canceled along with the NBA, NHL, MLB NASCAR, and the French Open. Bernie Bros and Biden fans are nowhere to be seen and their candidates now stand awkward and stiff behind video cams. All the theatres on Broadway are boarded up and schools across our nation have been shuttered, leaving moms as the new educators and kitchen tables as the classroom. Corner stores now sit silent and locked. Even the big international chains that, at the moment, are still accessible, have strict rules about space, coughing, and exposure. And remember when we used to linger over wine at our favorite restaurant after a good meal? That’s gone too. Everything has changed.
Few, if any of us, saw this thing coming. We’d never even heard of Coronavirus. So, at first, we joked about it. Comedians, armed with zingers and one-liners, had us chuckling. But as the numbers of the infected and dead began to pile up, humor turned first to fear and then to helplessness. Who would’ve thought that we’d be back in grammar school to understand words like social distancing or COVID-19 or N-95 respirators or transmission or quarantine? But things have changed.
So now that we’re barraged with an overload of information from hair-on-fire experts and network coverage, what can we do? Throw up our hands up in consternation? Hunker down for days of reruns? Try to survive hellish boredom? Let me offer a humble suggestion when you’ve had enough breaking news and Coronavirus blah, blah, blah. Here’s what I do. It’s what I’ve done in every crisis that I’ve encountered throughout my life. I take a walk to clear my head. It’s an amazing walk, really. For I begin to walk through the amazing, majestic, sometimes terrible, often visionary, but always brilliant, landscape of Scripture. This is not escapism or some crutch on which to lean my feeble life in order to survive tough times. Rather, Scripture points to a vision so much beyond our puny blinkered imagination. It gives us hope, perspective, and assurance. Scripture reminds me every day that this too shall pass. That the changing winds that hit our lives and world are temporary. They will not last. That means that even coronavirus will not have the last say. We are confident that our scientists and our dedicated medical servants will defeat this fear-inducing bug. And our religious leaders will be right beside them praying, counseling, and speaking hope into anxious souls so that faith once again is born.
And why can we speak with such candor and confidence about Scripture? Because the truth embedded in Scripture is this: that in Christ Jesus our Lord, God has given us eternal life—and this eternal life does not age, cannot be stopped by disease or crinkly, wrinkly old age or a bad heart or infected lungs. We are eternal and we have been captured by God’s love for us in Christ. And so, we will live forever. God’s love and our response assures us a place with God for the next trillion years, give or take. Yes! In God’s Love and Life, it’s our day, our say, our way.
In the meantime, while our heart still beats, we certainly reduce risk by sneezing into our sleeves and observing quarantines. But at the end of the day, our confidence is in the Eternal Lord and not in our finite, mortal, death-doomed disease-prone life.
So, let me hand you just a pebble from that land where I have walked much of this week. And let that one pebble intrigue you enough so that you’ll take your own walk into this amazing, beautiful world called Scripture. The pebble is this:
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but has eternal life.
And this is the testimony that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life.
1 John 5