Do You Agree? Part 1
As I write this, we are deep into Lent, the season before the glory of the resurrection emerges on Easter. Lent is a somber season, made all the more so in 2020 as we face the impact of the Covid-19 virus. For some, myself included, the virus threatens to tarnish the day that defines our religion. “Hope” is something that has been in short supply recently. New cases emerge daily, the stock market plunges, and we fear for our friends on many levels. Nothing is the same as it was only a few days ago, and we anticipate (and, probably rightly so) that the situation will be worse tomorrow.
But, we are not the first to experience this. I imagine that ancient Christians thought that the persecution wrought by Saul of Tarsus could only get worse as he ravaged the Church, entering the homes of believers and threw them into prison. Yet God brought great good from this hateful man as Paul literally saw the light and went on to achieve sainthood as one of the most ardent believers in history. God can bring incredible good from evil.
Of course, a better example is Good Friday. It was the darkest day yet for this new and persecuted religion, as its leader was horribly crucified and His followers fled in panic. Apparently, this fledgling religion was as dead as its namesake. However, out of hopelessness came the most joyous day the world has ever seen.
No statement was ever truer than “God works in mysterious ways”. He likes to…no,… has a real penchant for… turnarounds. He gives us what we need in the most unexpected ways, and for this Christian, it is one of the most heartening and exciting aspects of Christianity. We ask for a mighty warrior-messiah to crush the Romans, and he gives us a poor carpenter. Go figure…sure didn’t seem to be a lot if hope in that.
So, where does this leave us today in our virus-induced despair? Will we have a Saul-to-Paul turnaround. Well, that’s above my pay grade. My guess is it will be more like the protracted conquering of the Romans by love rather than the sword.
By Drick Heitman