May 13, 2020
The plot line of many movies starts with character development, then comes a crisis, then a long, difficult path to solving the crisis. But wait! Just when you think that everything is going to work out, there is a surprise twist, and everything is now in jeopardy. But then, another unexpected solution appears and everything is taken care of, and we all live happily ever after (or at least go and eat some good ribs somewhere together.)
In some ways, it seems that we are in a movie. We are making progress in getting life back to normal. We think there is a path forward. We think that the governor will open things back up. We think that our lives and our life together as a church can start heading back to normalcy. Then the stay at home order was extended yet again, and this odd season of life feels like a Michigan winter that will throw some snow at us even on Mother's Day.
If you have ever had a long-term illness or recovery from an accident or surgery, this path is familiar. If you have ever walked through the deep shadows of a winter's night of grief, you know this too well. If you have ever had to address a life-dominating sin like lust, drinking, cocaine, or anger, you know this path. You think that you are making progress. You think that your best days are ahead of you. You think that all of that bad is now in the rear-view mirror, when BAM! There it is again. The old memories come back, the old accusations are made, the old habits return, the cancer returns, the range of motion is not the same, the progress is stymied. While yesterday was so hopeful, today is, well, almost hopeless.
Except that it isn't.
The only way that we could actually be without hope would be if we were without God. And for the believer, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be without God. Have you ever noticed how many times God tells us that he will never leave us? What a kindness of God to repeat that. He knows how much we need to hear it, and he knows how much we love to hear it. You never get tired of people telling you how much they love you, right? Neither do we get tired of hearing that God is with us. If God is with us (Immanuel), and he died for us, then God is for us. And if God is for us, then despair is the stranger, and hope is our very close friend.
Looking forward to seeing all of you very soon! Then, let's get some ribs.
Grace and Thanksgiving,