Public insults. Conflict. Persecution. Prison. Confiscated Property. The readers of the the New Testament letter of Hebrews experienced all this in the early days of their walk with Jesus. While I cannot attest to this kind of suffering, I do know trial—wrecked car, bureaucracy headaches, ant infestation, health issues, the passing of loved ones. Like the early Christians, I too need the author’s counsel on facing trying times.
I feel like I've done a bunch of things wrong lately. I feel like I’ve done something morally wrong. Like I’m a criminal, or a bad person. Like I’ve been caught with my hand in the cookie jar when I never actually put it in. Or accidentally put it in. The fact is I’m a rule follower and I don’t like looking bad.
The desire to figure everything out, to fully understand, and make sense of my world is strong in me. However the events in our nation's capitol last week proved that even more fleeting than the loss of control over my schedule and calendar (due to a pandemic) is any control I thought I had over the beliefs and actions of others. Four guiding truths emerged as I pondered a quote from Emily P. Freeman.
I am an aunt to some lovely young women and men. I have cultivated individual relationships with them and enjoy my unique role in their lives. Being their aunt gives me a certain advantage over their mothers.
“Cancer, most likely stage four,” announced the email. Since older women compose the majority of my Bible study group, a notification of someone’s hospitalization was not unusual. But this one? She seemed too young, healthy, and vibrant.
"How will I know this for certain?" Zechariah asked and God called his question unbelief. Mary asked "How will this be?" and God said she believed. So why was Zechariah’s question not acceptable and Mary’s was?
I am amazed by the parallels and applications to our current crisis in this encounter of Jesus with ten men who had leprosy. The "disease" of our world feels overwhelming. Many in unhappy circumstances have shared their stories lately. Like Jesus, I am moved pity.
“I think I’m depressed,” I told my husband. “I have no motivation to do my work. I only want to do macrame all day. What’s wrong with me? Is it hormones, aging, or this pandemic?” Along with much of the world, I was, at that moment, weary and losing heart.