It happened. Covid is no longer a stranger to the Pichura Family. I certainly wouldn’t call it a friend, though. Normally, I seek to be hospitable but I’d much rather kick Covid to the curb. But, alas, it’s here to stay for more days than I’d prefer. We are now part of the statistics. We are “in the system”. Our days are not our own…at least not the next week of them, as we are quarantined at home.
But please don’t hear callousness in those statements. Please don’t hear a lack of care and concern for those with whom Covid has altered their lives indefinitely or ended their lives permanantly. This virus is an enemy, as are all diseases, cancers and germs that hurt, kill and destroy lives every day, all over this planet. We live in a sin-cursed world and, according to the Bible, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. This world is filled with trials and tribulations, and we are not immune to the pain and heartache they bring, no matter how hard we might battle against them.
As believers, we should hate what kills and fight for life, both of the body and ultimately the soul. In fact, God says that He sent Jesus to give us life, life to the full, and we must be ambassadors of that life: eternal life that can never be taken away from us by diseases, cancer or Covid. That is our ultimate calling: to spread the Gospel and be a light in the darkness.
But truth be told, at least from where I sit right now, it seems as though the spread of Covid is what is in the spotlight. We are back to some of the questions that constantly echoed in the cavern of our thoughts in March, April and May. What does it mean to spread the Gospel while trying not to spread Covid? What does it look like to live for the glory of God in the midst of this particular virus?
- If I don’t wear a mask, am I not considering others as more important than myself? Is wearing a mask the only way to truly show love to those around me?
- If, in our church, people hold to different views of what Covid-conscience means, does that negate God’s call to assemble or give me the right to point fingers?
- With no end in sight and the possibility of reinfection, am I to humbly accept this life of masks and distance until there is a vaccine that is actually proven to reduce the cases?
My heart is restless. I want to love my neighbor as myself, but I am unsure exactly what that looks like, according to the Word of God. There are so many opinions, so many preferences and so many ideas…many of them spoken with great authority and with a level of disdain for choosing otherwise. The people-pleaser in me cringes because I just want everyone happy. I just want everyone to assume the best and gather together without fear or censure. That may not be reality this side of Heaven, but I fear we are on a slippery slope, none-the-less. We are looking for who to blame, who to point the finger at, who to “throw under the bus”.
We have started taking recommendations and suggestions and turning them into laws, if only in our own heads and hearts. Then, we have become the moral police…deeming some people unloving and uncaring while christening others as the model of what Christian virtue looks like. We have determined what is best and been quick to judge anyone who thinks differently.
We are doing this with Covid. We are doing this with politics. And if we don’t all take time to examine our hearts, our motives and our choices in light of Scripture, I fear we will begin to let our consciences hold court over the authority of Scripture. We will begin to see our decisions as the standard instead of the Word of God being the plumb-line. We will forget that truth is not “out there”, nor is it inside of us, but it is found in the pages of Scripture.
Brothers and sisters in Christ…we are starting to turn on each other. We are looking for someone to blame in our “gone crazy” world. Instead of recognizing the devastating effects of sin on our world and in our own hearts and minds, we are living as if the right “steps” can put it all back in order and restore peace and health to our nation. I am surprised how my own heart has been quick to want to assume, to accuse, and to critique. I am saddened at the war that needs to be fought in the battlefield of my own mind.
And yet, at the same time, I am filled with great hope! For those of us who are in Christ, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit…by God Himself. And He sent His Son to die for our sins, our self-rightouesness, and our desire for self-sufficiency. He saved us and knit us together with other blood-bought brothers and sisters to form a family called the church. Jesus’s prayer before He died was that we would be one, just as He and the Father are one. Our unity was of incredible importance to our Savior and, because He never changes, it is still of critical importance now.
In the midst of all that we can do or not do, I pray that we would not lose sight of the one thing that is necessary…our pursuit to hold high the Word of Truth and display the glories of Christ. I pray that we would always “set the Lord before us”, “walk wisely” and “make the best use of our time”. And, as we examine ourselves, that we would “take our thoughts captive to obey Christ”. I pray that as we live out these Covid days and pursue keeping our bodies physically safe, we would never forget to remind ourselves of the great cost Jesus paid to keep us truly safe, eternally safe!
Our views and opinions about this pandemic may not all be the same…but we serve the same Savior and we are all, ultimately, only safe in His arms. May we live out this unity amid diversity united in threads of love….a love that is patient and kind, not envying, boasting, arrogant or rude. A love that does not insist on its own way and is not irritable or resentful. A love that does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. A love that bears with, believes, hopes, and endures all things. A love that never fails because it comes from the One who will never fail!