If you’re like me you wake each morning with the oblivion of sleep suddenly shattered by the mental bludgeon of realization–‘the pandemic’!
If you’re lucky enough to have a job that is reasonably removed from the ‘front lines’ you can sublimate the thought while you focus on the work of the day. Barely. It’s hard, isn’t it?
If you are working with sick people or in managing resources I have no idea of the mental, emotion and physical strain you are under. I thank you for enduring this for us all.
If you’re sick and worried, or at home alone, our special prayers are with you.
In my daily reading in the Psalms, lately I seem to be cemented to one psalm in particular. I haven’t moved off it for days. I’m trying to understand it’s meaning for today, because I have often observed that in a timeless document like the Bible there are concepts that are useful to understand, and let’s face it, we could all use some more understanding. Wisdom is the key here. Let’s pick through the rubble of our present reality and see what we find. Join me will you?
Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; his love endures forever.
This is how it begins.
That God is good has been debated for centuries by far wiser people than me. And perhaps now, more than ever, the question of God’s goodness arises in your heart. I know it has in mine.
There’s a worldwide pandemic! How could this possibly prove God’s goodness?!
Where did we come up with the idea of good anyway? How is it that we all agree on the concept? And why do we even care about God being good or people being good? We stand in judgement against anything we perceive as ‘not good’ constantly. This fuels political debate, territory arguments, domestic quarrels and our own guilt about how we could have done better. Where have we gotten these ‘rules’ from? Why should people suffering or dying matter? —- people die everyday! If we are merely material, evolved matter, let’s just let it go. Death happens.
This looking for goodness–for a transcendence of the natural world is something ‘outside ourselves’ that is implicit everywhere. It’s built in you might say.
In my research for perspective on the Corona Virus deaths I stumbled across worldwide death statistics. I was stunned to find that in the same period that CV has been ravaging the world there have been almost 250,000 suicides.
Well, you might say, this is not good.
A commentator on the virus recently intoned in a rather bedside manner, “the virus is not trying to kill you, it just wants to get as far into the future as it can.” I apologize for not crediting him properly, my mind is aswirl with many such ideas. To want to get into the future means survival. To end your life is to reject survival. So on the one hand the ‘innocent virus’ is just trying to live but a quarter of a million humans have rejected living. We are in the weeds now and seemingly further from goodness. Everything appears upside down. But why? What is right side up after all? Why should we be disoriented or distressed by this?
We have an orientation towards good, toward life, toward health, vibrancy, survival into the future. If good means anything it means the opposite of bad. Did God make the virus? We and it, presumably want to get as far into the future as possible. If we do not, something is terribly wrong. We all know that instinctively.
His love endures forever.
This suggests that there is something that lasts forever. That’s a long time. Freakishly so. And while it sounds nice that love endures through time, all I really want to know is: is God good now? Today? Tomorrow? Next week?
Take a look at what is happening all around you. Everywhere you look people are moving towards helping others NOT GET THE VIRUS. The entire world is onboard. There are governments handing down directives, bail-outs, research, companies working around the clock to find solutions, to aid prevention and to save as many lives as possible. Businesses have voluntarily closed, neighbors are checking on each other. Even our precious liberty is sacrificed at the altar of safety. Goodness is spilling through all the ugly cracks in this disaster. We are willing to sacrifice much for the greater good.
Are you, like me, praying for a miracle, a 180, a game-changer? I’ll bet so. Another such anonymous commentator reminds, if hope exists tomorrow then possibility exists today. Because humans, the crowning glory of God‘s creation, which he pronounced ‘good’, have been given power, dominion over all the rest of creation. We are demonstrating that now. It is good. It is not good that a virus should take us out, and we know it. Consider a world where God micromanaged every step we took to prevent all bad from happening? Would we want that? Well you’re kind of in that situation right now on lock–down. How does it feel?
He is good. We, his creation, are demonstrating it. Goodness is all around, and like a diamond on a backdrop of black velvet, it shows up in darkness now more than ever. Look for it.
His love endures forever. Like the life force—spring, summer, winter, fall—it iterates through time. A working definition of forever is tomorrow.
You can depend on it.