I know COVID-19 has led to a long journey so far, and let’s face it, it’s been a long 2020 so far. In Newfoundland, where I live with my family, we’ve already experienced unprecedented amounts of snow, and have already experienced a weather-related State of Emergency. So, as we experience COVID-19, some are experiencing sickness, some have lost employment, or are simply worried about what tomorrow looks like. No one can blame you for being overwhelmed. I’m sure all of us have had moments over the past few days that have been filled with concern.
That’s normal. It’s ok…
Our family has tried to limit activity to what we need to do (ie. Work and Groceries). I cautiously stepped into Costco this week. I felt like I needed to pray before I went in; it was probably the strangest experience I’ve ever had. Once I started putting things in my cart, something felt eerie. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, until it dawned on me – it was strangely quiet. There were plenty of people around, but you could hear footsteps and employee radios. Suspicion was on everyone’s face; a single cough would grant you the right-of-way pretty quick. Even though employees acted very professionally, with extra cleaning, and offering Lysol wipes for wiping down your cart, uncertainty and concern was very evident. It’s normal. It’s ok.
But even when we have to be socially responsible, and practice social distancing, isolation, and even experience pain, worry, and anxiety of many kinds, our God still remains good! He is unchanging.
That can be easier said than understood, but the Early Church experienced pain and suffering like no other, and yet Paul still understood God to be good:
“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
While we still experience hardship, it doesn’t mean God isn’t walking with us and leading us through everything. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Every hardship is a way of maturing us and building us up in the faith. He is near.
Ultimately, we know who wins.
Ultimately, through God’s grace, we will spend eternity with Him.
Nothing can, or will, separate us from His love. While we are experiencing, and living in, a broken world full of sickness, we also have a beautiful HOPE like no other.
We should be so thankful that Paul’s words in Romans 8 didn’t simply end with God is good. He concludes with HOPE:
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future; nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.“ – Romans 8:31-39
God is trustworthy and he keeps His promises. Even when we don’t see what God is doing, He is leading us towards His love. At the end of the day, nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Rainbows in the window…
After several days of being alone in the house with the kids, Deidre thought it might be nice to go for a drive and change surroundings. As we were driving around our neighbourhood, we noticed a bunch of child-drawn rainbows in several house windows. Deidre immediately remembered that some parents were placing rainbows (drawn by their children) in their windows for kids to notice on drives and walks, to encourage each other. Rae wasn’t long finding some of the drawings her friends from school had displayed.
Later that evening, I started to think and write about our HOPE and I immediately thought about those rainbows in the windows. I think sometimes we forget that rainbows aren’t just pretty, but they remind us of God’s promise that he would never destroy the earth again, like He did in Noah’s day (Noah’s story starts in Genesis 6). It’s really a symbol of HOPE and LIFE.
It’s wasn’t long after we got home, that Rae put a rainbow in her window, and asked Deidre to message some of her friends to drive by and see it. It doesn’t take much to spread some hope.
We may not be able to meet as local churches in the days ahead, but as you connect with family, watch an online service, or maybe just engage in a Bible study and prayer time yourself, know that God’s love is very real and never ending!
Know that we are all in this together and praying for each other!
This too shall pass. When it does, we will all come out stronger and more spiritually mature than ever!
Maybe we can all put a rainbow in the window to remind us, and everyone around us, there’s HOPE!
If you enjoy music, here’s a link to a song called “Way Maker” (Caleb and Kelsey’s version). It’s a quiet version, and words are amazing!