I was having one of those existential moments after dropping off my girls at our day care (which is absolutely phenomenal). I had to remind our 4 year old to take off her mask so I could kiss her goodbye. It choked me up! I mean, she’s used to it already??! A little bit later, I sat down in my office to read & randomly opened to Jeremiah 23. Here’s what jumped out to me, from verse 8.
8 but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”
Biblical history time! There are 3 huge stories that shaped the Israelites (and Old Testament) up until Jesus of Nazareth comes onto the scene. In order, they are creation, exodus from Egyptian slavery, & being exiled from the Promised Land.
For a long time, creation was the big story for the people of God. Then, for a much longer time, being rescued from Egypt overtakes creation as what the biblical authors discuss.
A civil war plus idolatry eventually leads to exile. (I’m skipping a LOT of history here.)
Instead of the Egyptian enslavery being the most relevant narrative, the exile becomes the bigger story for the people of God. Maybe like how the Civil War eventually eclipsed the Revolutionary War? Not that one is more important than the other, although the first doesn’t happen without the second. But not only do both events become major historical memories for the nation, the more recent one has more relevancy.
And so the promise becomes how Israel is able to come back to the Promised Land from a greater geographic region, a greater scope than what the Egyptian enslavery held for the Jews.
God’s promises get bigger & bigger throughout biblical history (a.k.a. God’s involvement with humankind). It goes from just one empire dominating God’s people to multiple empires or nations keeping Israel from experiencing their faith by being close to the Promised Land.
For us in 2020, we’re scattered. The virus has regulated us to our homes. It’s kept us from high fiving, hugging, laughing, & singing. Our mental health is under attack.
But God is bigger. God > COVID-19.Tweet
Through Jesus we have victory over sin & death. And this includes viruses.
The author of Hebrews said this about things we cannot see.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
While we cannot *see* the virus, it’s just as true that we cannot see God.
While we can see how the virus alters our health, lives, & society, we can also see how God is at work in the world.
The goal I have for myself is still this: to be a part of the visible body of Christ, which is still at work. To remind others that our hope is in WHO we do not see.
And to remember what that guy named Paul once wrote:
“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 8:38-39 NIV)