Jesus said don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my father’s house. If this were not so, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? (John 14:1-2)
A year ago, on March 8, the first person to die from COVID-19 passed away in BC. Three days later, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared that we were in a pandemic. Since then, more than 22,000 people have died in our country, and more than 2.6 million people have died throughout the entire world. For those of us who continue to live, our lives have been disrupted in a dramatic fashion by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is much to grieve.
And yet there are still reasons to hope. Jesus is the son of God who came into this broken and hurting world and wrapped himself in human flesh in order to save us from eternal separation from God and bring us into eternal life in God’s family as his beloved, forgiven child.
But what does that mean for us as we live life in this world?
One of my favorite authors is Timothy Keller who has taught me much through his books. In 2020, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which is invariably terminal. In a recent article that he wrote for the Atlantic, titled “Growing My Faith in the Face of Death,” he wrote these words:
Since my diagnosis, Kathy [who is his wife] and I have come to see that the more we tried to make a heaven out of this world—the more we grounded our comfort and security in it—the less we were able to enjoy it ….
To our surprise and encouragement, Kathy and I have discovered that the less we attempt to make this world into a heaven, the more we are able to enjoy it …. It is only as I have become … more heavenly minded that I can see the material world for the astonishingly good divine gift that it is.
I can sincerely say, without any sentimentality or exaggeration, that I’ve never been happier in my life, that I’ve never had more days filled with comfort. But it is equally true that I’ve never had so many days of grief…. But I have come to be grateful for those side swipes, because they remind me to reorientate myself to the convictions of my head and the process is of my heart. When I take time to remember how to deal with my fears and savor my joys, the consolations are stronger and sweeter than ever.[i]
Dear friend, I urge you to rest in the consolation of Jesus and, with his grace and guidance, do what Timothy Keller has done and examine what you truly believe in your head and how those beliefs translate into what you feel in your heart.
It hurts to live as a broken person in this broken world, but Jesus came to be broken for us. “…[T]he punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 55:5)
Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to this world to die and rise again so we could have unshakeable hope as we live in this broken and hurting world. Please comfort us and help us to see this world as the wonderful gift from you that it is. Amen.
[i] Timothy Keller, “Growing My Faith in the Face of Death,” The Atlantic (Internet; available at: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/03/tim-keller-growing-my-faith-face-death/618219/; accessed March 9, 2021).