Friday, March 20, 2020

God Wins!
This is something that has made sense to me on so many occasions that I don’t even question it anymore.  There is something about celebrating this reality every Sunday that is life-giving in ways that I can’t begin to express.  The bottom line, I trust those two words so much that they have become a driving force in my life. 

Now…the corona virus.  How do we make sense of it?  How do we comfort one-another when threatened by it?  Do you fear it?  Is it’s story trustworthy?

These 2 paragraphs underscore my concerns for our people as I see them struggling. This is what I see:

First, people have what I call a “Sense Making” Apparatus. This is our need to make sense of what we see happening around us.  We need a story that is true and makes sense of all the weirdness we’re experiencing right now. Currently, things just don’t make sense, and for that matter they haven’t for a long time.  We long for a narrative that fits the facts. Until then we are restless. Our restlessness escalates into anxiousness then it manifests as paralyzing fear, simply because we can’t make sense of what is happening.  If we could makes sense, then at least we could try to figure out what to do. People are very adaptive when they understand the rules!

Second, people need people.  I’m convinced we each have 2 primary identities.  The first is intrinsic. That is, what’s inside of us.  The things we value, our convictions, what we stand for and how we’ve chosen to present ourselves to others. The second is social. A part of our identity is tied up in our connection to other people. When we lose this connection, a part of us starts to languish and even begin to die.  That is why they say loneliness is as much of a killer as cigarettes. We NEED people!

Third, we need an authority to trust.  Right now this crisis is showing us who we can trust and who we can’t.  The more it unfolds, the more it becomes obvious.  Crisis has a way of churning to the top, the good, the bad and the ugly of what hides beneath the surface. Currently people don’t trust once trusted institutions like the media and government. Both have displayed such an interest in manipulating perception that we’ve lost confidence. The test for me is whether they put self and corporate interest over the interest of the community. -On that note, I think right now our governor is signalling a love for Ohioans. As of now, I trust him and his team.
I trust our elders.  And many other people who display the fruit of putting people first over personal gain. 
I trust God most of all.
I trust God in this crisis more than anything else.  I read my psalms every day and I follow the psalmist in his testimony of God’s trustworthiness.  It is proving to make more sense than anything. I like reading the psalms with my wife, and praying with everyone I can.  In a closed system without a God this doesn’t make sense, however what we hear from the news is not all that is going on! We live in a system that is open to God working and our prayers insure that He does! I trust that! - Plus there is a peace that passes all understanding that flows through connecting with God through His word.  When I ask people who are worried if they are reading the psalms devotionally and prayerfully everyday and they tell me, “No.” I tell them to try it and get back with me on the difference it creates in their perspective. It sparks my joy!

Part of who I am socially is a connected-to-others follower of Jesus. I’m not lonely.  However I worry about our people being alone. Especially our shut-ins. They can’t make sense of what’s going on.  They dispel loneliness with the noise of the TV. The TV loves to get them ginned up with fear. They are languishing and they need to hear from their church the Good News that God wins!  And they are loved.  And we are trustworthy people.

Be safe in Jesus, Pastor Leonard