The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 1:18 KJV
My friend’s voice sounded somewhere between hopeless and amused as he told me about waking up on Mother’s day to find snow on deck. Maybe dragging into this 8th week of shutdown you are also running a bit low on hope. Today Paul reminds us that our greatest hope is in heaven because that is the place God has promised His people. Our great hope on earth begins where Jesus suffered on the cross for our free gift of salvation. But our great hope right here and right now is put to work when we love others in daily practical ways. Together we share a common hope and finding feet to wash may be the best medicine for hopelessness because it gives earthly reality to the heavenly hope we have in Jesus Christ our Lord.
If there’s one thing I’m learning during this enforced time of semi- isolation it is just how simple our needs really are. During these six weeks we celebrated our 47th anniversary with takeout and flowers delivered to the house. Our children and friends called to congratulate us and 50 more sent love and greetings on Facebook while they chuckled at those old wedding pictures
We have haven’t been to church but we have had church online and learned the value of listening and worshipping at home. Our small group was cancelled but people are keeping in touch with messages and phone calls. Being unable to be physically present with others we are learning how important it is to pray for one another. And through it all life has inexorably become both quieter and more content.
Maybe we are becoming content because for the first time in a long while we are seeing how helpless we are and how strong the arms of God that draw us ever closer to Him!
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:13-14 ESV
In the middle of this crisis the danger that we as Christians face is to long to go back to that what we considered normal rather than a longing to go forward into the new path that God is opening ahead.
A long time ago I used to be on our school’s track team. While I was never really very good I learned a few valuable tips about how to run a long distance race.
The first thing is to pace ourselves and conserve our strength for the final lap. In the Christian life we are also in a race and we must run with the finish line in our minds. As we are in the heat of this Covid-19 war maybe we should ask ourselves a simple question, “What is God wanting to change in my life and where might He be leading?” As Paul said; in order for us to run well we need to forget what lies behind us. If we are planning and strategizing how to get back to once was we will never be able to set our eyes on where God wants us to go.
Secondly in order to pace ourselves properly we need to just run our own race. Everyone has a different way of running and we must not try to keep up with what other people are doing. Even though God calls all of us towards His heavenly goal, the way He has designed for each of us to run is unique. Just as Peter talked even when he didn’t know what to say, and Thomas wouldn’t take anyone else’s word for things so we are also all different, but together we form a team.
Last of all Paul encourages us to press towards the goal. The United States and the world at large will never be the same after this Corona virus fades into history. But God’s purpose of bringing men and women to His kingdom remains unchanged. If we waste all of our energy at trying to go back to what once was we will miss the opportunity to discover what might be. So like Paul, let’s keep our eyes fixed on the prize because the finish line is in sight!