Misha Darcy 3/30/20
This is a test. This is only a test...
Most of us have never experienced an epidemic before, and very few can remember a pandemic. It’s pretty scary, especially if you’ve never needed to make sacrifices, budget or deal with lockdowns and curfews. It’s easy to fall into complaining and blaming, wondering, “Why me?” (Why not somebody else??)
But to put it in context, singer, Michael Bublé said a friend told him, “Your (great) grandparents were asked to go to war, and all you’re being asked to do is sit on the couch.”
Think about it; there could be no better time in history to be quarantined – the internet allows most of us to not only work from home, stay in touch, and shop like addicts, but our culture has grown to absolutely love the couch. (at least, until authorities tell us we have to stay put.) During this self-isolation I’ve seen neighbors for the first time – outside jogging, walking dogs, kids playing in the yard. Of course, we still don’t talk, but this may be the start of something big! One day we may even wave to each other.
It’s been amazing to see people pull together.
And there are many more examples.
Adversity defines us. It’s a test. How we deal with it not only says who we are, but it reinforces who we will continue to be.
What if this crisis changed how we do things? What if we learn to appreciate the people and things we already have? What if we continue to waste less, buy only what we need, and save for a rainy day? What if we learn to help ourselves instead of waiting for someone to rescue us? And what if we continue to help each other, for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do?
God has given humanity instructions for success: Love God and love each other. It’s so simple, yet so surprisingly hard to practice. But that’s the key – it takes practice. Not just during a crisis. We have to rewrite our selfish, fearful programming all the time. But if we practice faith and love now, the next crisis will be so much easier to deal with. If that sounds too hard, try faith first; love will follow. But don’t forget to love! Faith is not a solitary act.
I’m not going to tell you that faith will keep you or your family free from germs or safe from all harm. Afterall, Job, a good and faithful man, had undeserved calamity befall him. But God allowed this knowing that Job’s soul would be safe. Job certainly had many questions! But he never lost his trust in God. Job would never even know why it happened—that he was being given the chance to stand witness for God’s character trial. Truly, what happens to us in this world is of little consequence compared to the spiritual realm. Christ has said,
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
You don’t have to bury your head in the sand, but you can focus on the positive. If we reap what we sow, we can either reap fear and hate or hope and love. So be careful that what you share on social media is both true and positive. You’re sowing seeds.
“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
The Children of Israel were blaming and back-biting both their leaders and God. They didn’t trust that either were properly taking care of them. Their doubt manifested in a plague of venomous snakes, a symbol of the Father of Lies. Their only hope was to look upon the image of a bronze serpent mounted on a pole that Moses held aloft. In other words, they were asked to reflect on the symbology of what they were actually doing in criticizing God and those He appointed to lead them. The Israelites had to ask themselves, “What have we done? Who are we listening to? Why aren’t we trusting God, who has taken care of us this far?” They repented and were immediately healed of the poison.
Are we full of poison? Where are our hearts? How strong is our faith?
The Children of Israel may not have known it at the time, but they were also looking at their future and at hope: The Messiah on the cross. John 3:14 says,
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up…”
It took something as shocking and bloody as seeing Christ nailed to a cross for people to realize what they were actually doing; the lies they were swallowing and spreading to others; what their faithlessness did to their God, their Savior. Yet through Christ’s death – a fate that we who are guilty deserve – and our repentance, we are forgiven and saved.
The Messiah need not have died so cruelly. Why did it require so much horror and pain to open their eyes? Ellen G. White says it was at the moment of crucifixion that the entire universe was convinced of Satan’s true, deceptive nature. The trial for God’s innocence goes on.
Will you focus on the snakes or on the cross? Like Job’s calamity, this is only a test to show us who we are. God knows how we’ll respond. It’s we the tested who need to know what we’ve learned, what we’ve absorbed. Will you exude fear and hate or faith and love? This is an opportunity to show the universe what it means to be a follower of Christ, a believer in God.
The building may be closed, friends, but Church is still open - Hallelujah!