Nothing like this has ever happened before. Never in our history, has the world been so interconnected… and therefore negatively impacted all at the same time.
I find myself going back and forth between oblivion and heaviness. Some days, I unplug from the news and fully enjoy the Spring day with my children, riding bikes, working in the yard, and taking time to deep clean or bake something from scratch. In many ways, I’m loving this return to simplicity. My southern, island girl-self is filled with contentment at the cancelling of activities and the empty busyness I so often fill my days with. I’m so grateful to be at home, recognizing my limitations. The freedom of no longer spending four hours a day carting kids to various places is so life-giving! And yet, I am aware that my joy is partly because I live in a nice neighborhood and have plenty of food in the pantry. Often, throughout the day, I think of friends who are losing their livelihood as careers crumble. I think of my older friends whose retirement funds are quickly dwindling. I think of the many many people in poverty, who no longer have access to basic necessities. I think of children or spouses in abusive homes, whose place of refuge may have been school or work.
Earlier this week, Chris spent some time meditating on all the verbs in Jeremiah 1. I decided to follow his example. (I know that many of you reading this, do not know Jesus, or do not believe in the God that Christians follow. I hope you will keep reading and, at least, consider some of these thoughts.) This chapter of the Bible contains a well-known passage:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”JEREMIAH 1:5 ESV
This is such an endearing truth. God, the creator of the universe, all powerful, all knowing, present everywhere… knows ME. My heart is filled with wonder and comfort. God is reminding Jeremiah that He is with Jeremiah as he faces a hard job – telling God’s people they have sinned. Ugggh, I just said the “S” word! Why are we so afraid to admit when we’ve turned away from such a loving Father? I think of how much I desire for my own kids to admit they’ve been doing life “their way,” they should’ve listened to me, and they are sorry. I am not a perfect parent, so this isn’t a great analogy, but I think most parents are trying to teach their children to make wise choices. We know some of the dangers in life and don’t want our kids to suffer needlessly. And yet, we give them freedom, knowing they must learn from their mistakes. Other times, the risk of life-altering consequences are so steep, we put boundaries and consequences in place until they grow up a little more.
So often, we are like our children in our ideas about God. “Your rules are stupid.” “Why won’t you let me do that?!” “You never let me have any fun!” “Stop controlling me, I’m almost an adult!” Okay, maybe our kids don’t say those actual words, but we know they believe the ideas! Ha!
What if this current pandemic is a boundary? What if our confinement is actually an opportunity to reflect on what is most valuable and important? Has our modern technology made us think we no longer need God our Father? We don’t need his wisdom, we’ve got it covered. What if this worldwide tragedy is an opportunity for us to realize we aren’t invincible, we need God, but we’ve been doing life “our way?”
As I was reading Jeremiah 1 & 2, thinking about the analogy of parents and children, the Cross Chart came to mind.
This visual helps make a really big concept more tangible for my heart and mind. As we grow in our understanding of God’s goodness, love, and holiness, our understanding of our sin also increases. Therefore, we see how huge the sacrifice of Christ taking on our sins really was and is! An increase of respect and awe for God, bringing grief for our brokenness and sin, leads us to seeing the love of Christ. I love that this chart does NOT express self-hatred, condemnation, or self-righteousness (which Christians are often guilty of).
The most beautiful truth I walk away with from the chart is this: God’s love in forgiving us through Christ is HUGE. If he really is way holier than I can even comprehend… then my selfishness is way worse than I realize… SO, what God did through the cross is a far greater love than I can dream of. This familiar passage is a good reminder.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”JOHN 3:16-17 ESV
So what now?
Here’s another drawing that I did as I took notes at a conference for pastor’s wives. I love the addition of RB(heart). This morning, I’ll be journaling and asking the Lord to help me see (I already have a few sins in mind #demandingmomma):
- R- Where do I need to repent?
- B- Where do I need to believe?
- (Heart) – What could love look like?
Would you be willing to share a comment with some of your favorite verses, blogs, websites, bible studies about God’s love, holiness, and character? Let’s encourage one another to look up as we face this pandemic.
Extra: As I searched the internet for the cross chart image, I also came across a really great blog that does a much better job explaining the chart than I did. I’m posting links to it below if you want to read a little more. Each post is super short. It’s a three part series titled “Dealing with Sin Without Becoming a Legalist,” and each post is super short.
- Part 1: https://harborhonolulu.org/2010/09/14/dealing-with-sin-without-becoming-a-legalist/
- Part 2: https://harborhonolulu.org/2010/09/15/dealing-with-sin-without-becoming-a-legalist-2/
- Part 3: https://harborhonolulu.org/2010/09/16/dealing-with-sin-without-becoming-a-legalist-3/