Weathering the Storm
7.13.20 Weathering the Storm. When life hits us a curve ball, like the coronavirus and its effects on our country, we can duck it and try to avoid it, we can be angry that it is in our lives, or we can set aside any objections we might have in order to deal realistically with the challenge that is already in our lives. I have found that my suffering increases incrementally when I resist what is in my life and decreases as much when I do not resist the reality. That’s not to say I like Covid-19 or, say, my husband’s illness and death or the thousands of much smaller changes that I’ve had to deal with, but, and it’s a big BUT, if I can just see what this new thing is asking of me and do it, I am much more at peace, more fulfilled, even joyful at times.
What I have found in the lack of resistance is God’s presence with me is that I can see the blessings that this new reality has for me. As an example, one of my reader’s commented on my 3.2.20 blog post, “God Calls Us Out of Slavery to the World: ”What do you mean? God never condemned slavery!” I took that as a challenge and looked up all the references to slaves and slavery in the concordance and saw that he was right: There is no condemnation about slavery from God. By the time I had read those passages, though, I was hooked: I had to find out more about slavery both in the Bible and in the world. Pretty soon I saw a book in the making about slavery and, just as Charlotte was shutting down in favor of isolation from the virus, I was beginning a three-month-long research into slavery. I read through three volumes of The Cambridge History of Slavery in the World, along with a number of other books. And I had all this time because of the sheltering at home.
I wouldn’t have been able to so dedicate myself to this study if it were not for staying home all the time. So there was the benefit for me in this isolation. Now as the three months lengthens into four I am seeing that the book is not to be about slavery but to be about what God is calling us to, how He helps us release all the bonds that hold us to the world. And what a blessing and horror all this reading has been. I feel like I have been wallowing in the pits of human behavior and yet I see so clearly how God is active in our lives not in just moving us out of slavery(the Exodus story), but of promoting us while we’re enslaved(Joseph and Daniel), saving us from certain death(Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego), saving us from our own resistance(Jonah), showing us how to avoid our sons being enslaved(the widow with olive oil), healing us from physical causes that enslave our bodies(Jesus’s healing stories) and so much more.
Even though God does not condemn slavery, it’s clear that He sees it as the condition we have to overcome to be His in this lifetime. Have you experienced healing after healing of the pain and suffering your life? That is God liberating us from what enslaves us. Are you able to love your self? That is God taking away the things that stand between us and God. Are you able to love others as you love yourself? That is God helping us to see with His eyes. And there is so much more.
Paul writes about being a slave to God[Romans 6:22]. But there is a huge difference between being a slave in the world and being a slave to God. Being a slave or servant to the world means we have little or no freedom and everything is done from the master’s point of view. With slavery to God we are brought to the fullness of who He created us to be. We find fulfillment in our purpose for which we were designed. We find joy in being our true selves. We find a partnership with God that is never-ending. We are not alone. And we are loved. What more could we ask? What more could we be? What more could we want? To be fulfilled in God’s presence is the height of human achievement. It’s not of our own doing, only our surrender. It is totally God’s doing in us.