COVID Chronicles: Comfort and hope
Soon after COVID began for us here in Virginia (our awareness of it, about March 14), I began documenting what I was reading. Not only has the COVID crisis caused global, unprecedented chaos, but it has created stark division among people. The sheer vitriol that people receive from attempting to comment or question narratives is sad to me. The death of healthy dialogue is discouraging and prevents us from discerning truth.
What we have needed is a healthy dose of “second opinions.” There is one prevailing cultural narrative, and people who have dared to question it have been censored, had their social media accounts suspended, been ridiculed, called names, had videos removed from YouTube and been called crazy.
This pandemic has caused real grief and real pain across our world. People have lost friends and family members. Jobs have been lost. Businesses have closed, many to never reopen. Having a daily death tracker posted on all news channels and websites has reminded us of our mortality. The societal and global attention to this pandemic is unprecedented.
Anxiety levels have continue to climb an impossibly long roller coaster mountain. The drop is coming. We know death is real, and yet the promotion of constant danger has created unrelenting fear – among Christians as well as non-Christians.
Now more than ever, people need comfort and hope.
In these hard days, who would have ever thought that 2020 would lead us here? It is astounding that names and terms like these would each in and of itself be debatable.
Dr. Anthony Fauci
With these terms popularized, how can I as a follower of Jesus offer calm, hope, certainty, assurance and point to a God who is not in heaven stressed and worried about the current (or any) state of events?
“A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:1-2)
Gentleness is a quality sorely needed in our cultural conversation and conduct. It’s one that is modeled by Jesus. In Matthew 11:28-29, He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
I recently read Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund, and it was like aloe vera for a sun-burned mind. The way Jesus interacted with doubters and deniers was genius andgentle. He addressed each person or group in a manner best designed to expose their root hangup and urge them to faith. Certainly there were times He was firm (He told Thomas, “Don’t be faithless but believe.” He was direct (He pushed back on a doubting dad, “If you can?!”) He was harsh with the “religious” who should have known better. Yet, His invitation to “come” in Matthew 11 is so warm, hopeful and restful that it’s one I want to emulate in this extended post about such a divisive and discouraging life season for our world. I am convinced and convicted that Jesus is inviting us all to Him. The gateis narrow into His path, but walking with Jesus is better than worrying with the world.
I’d appreciate your prayers as I write and re-write in a way that will help, heal, bless and point us in encouraging directions. My goal is to point us past COVID to comfort and hope and to give biblical, personal and practical reasons for doing so.