SURVIVING IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD
One thing is certain – existential threats will always be with us. That is the plight of living in a world under the condemnation of sin. Because of this, coming out of this global pandemic repressed feelings of elation at the thoughts of social mingling, travel, eating out, and normality, will likely be short lived. So, what do we do to survive? Allow me to share three suggestions.
1. We need to acknowledge that life is filled with underlying anxieties that are intrinsic to the human experience. They won’t go away. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed,” Paul states. (II Cor. 4:8-9) That’s why he put so much emphasis on coping mechanisms in his letters to the churches. He realized that trouble is a part of life – but God could give him the grace to handle them. King Solomon, regarded as the wisest man who ever lived, summed things up this way. “All his days man’s work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless. A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment.” (Eccl. 2:23-24)
2. We need to realize we are made up of both the finite and the infinite – the human and the divine – the temporal and the eternal. We live between two worlds. And until death comes, we must learn to navigate sandwiched between the two. The Bible pictures us as being engaged in a relentless war between the Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Light. Paul regularly talked about the challenges this presented, even in his own “saintly” life. “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me,” he said. (Rom. 7:21) “The good that I would desire to do – I don’t do it. And the things I don’t want to do, those I find myself doing.” Exasperated in the battle he throws up his hands and asks, “Who will deliver me from the bondage of this death?” Screaming from heaven to his soul came the reply – “Thanks be to God – the answer lies in Christ.” (Rom. 7:25)
3. Survival also requires that we be stockpiling our lives with transcending thoughts that go beyond this current moment in time. Just like people in the face of a coming hurricane board up their windows and stockpile emergency supplies like water and food, we too need to be stockpiling our lives with transcending thoughts about God’s sustaining power, heaven, and an eternity with Jesus. Compared to the richest of kings and czars, the Christians’ inheritance cannot be measured. “He is rich without limit to his wealth. He is blessed without a boundary to his bliss.” (Spurgeon) Paul was stocking up his life with transcending insights when he said, “No eye has seen nor has any ear heard the full measure of all that God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Cor. 2:8) In the midst of his fiery trials Job too sought to maintain a perspective that went beyond the moment when he declared, “But he knows the way that I take; and when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) All those listed in Faith’s Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11, lived with transcending thoughts – “…they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.” (Heb. 11:16)
Our survival in a post-pandemic world hinges on a realistic acceptance of trials; the realization that we live between two worlds; and a commitment to keep our focus firmly fixed on Jesus – the author and the finisher of our faith.
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group (Loads of Love)
II Cor. 12:10; Job 28:12-28; Acts 20:24; II Timothy 4:6-8; Hebrews 11:11-16; 12:1-3