“Virus cases mount at a grim and worrying pace,” “Day-care system suffers as virus runs roughshod,” “State rules hobble would-be nurses,” “Grim forecast in Silicon Valley,” “County leaders at odds in a time of crisis,” “Experts say growth rate could swamp hospitals” … Shall I go on? Just a few of today’s headlines from one section of the paper. It’s enough to make you want to go back to bed. Read further and you start to get into finger-pointing and “I told you so” theories of who’s responsible. Then you get into cover-up, denials, false hopes and anybody’s guess as to how long it will be before things return to normal.
Easter is two weeks from Sunday. What does that mean? Does that mean this is all over by then? Not the way things are looking right now. But what it does mean is that there is hope beyond disease, there is hope beyond death, there is hope beyond the worst things that can happen to our country, your country, or the world. This hope is because on the cross, Jesus put an end to sin; sorrow; pain; loneliness; separation; disease; punishment; blame; and our greatest enemy, death itself; and He rose from the dead to put all this away, so that — though it matters a lot right now because we are living through it — all of this will ultimately not matter at all compared to the eternal life and surpassing glory that will put all of this forever behind us.
Some might say this is just pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by, but not when Jesus and the leaders of the early church were constantly telling us to watch and pray for the end is coming. It’s all about perspective, and it’s all about what and who we put our hope in.
And it’s all about the love of God that surpasses all understanding and it’s about knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing can ever separate us from that love.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
It’s time to hear again from the late Brennan Manning, a quote I have to review every once in a while, because I have a tendency to forget. I always put this quote in caps because he almost always ended his talks with this, and he always shouted it because he was so passionate about this one thing: how much God loves us.
“DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THE GOD OF JESUS LOVES YOU BEYOND WORTHINESS AND UNWORTHINESS, BEYOND FIDELITY AND INFIDELITY, THAT HE LOVES YOU IN THE MORNING SUN AND IN THE EVENING RAIN, THAT HE LOVES YOU WHEN YOUR INTELLECT DENIES IT, YOUR EMOTIONS REFUSE IT, AND YOUR WHOLE BEING REJECTS IT? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT GOD LOVES WITHOUT CONDITION OR RESERVATION, AND LOVES YOU THIS MOMENT, AS YOU ARE, AND NOT AS YOU SHOULD BE?” – Brennan Manning