He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 36:6
“If you have a cough, sore throat or fever, please report immediately to airport security at your terminal.” Then in Chinese, the same message would follow. It was January 6th 2020, and I was in the Hong Kong International Airport for a three-hour layover. I would hear this message repeat approximately 15 times before I left. By then, it had become a droning din along with all the other announcements in mostly Chinese. But looking back, I should’ve wondered just a little. I should’ve felt the earth rumble beneath my feet, the world shifting and groaning for the unthinkable – a world-wide pandemic. Instead I climbed aboard a 737 jet stuffed with college students from China returning to school in the US after a long winter break. As I settled in for a 20hour flight, my last leg home from Malaysia after visiting my son and his family for Christmas, the last thing on my mind was how a small microbe from China would change the world. Just three days later, the WHO announced what the Hong Kong airport already knew – the discovery of a mysterious virus in Wuhan China.
Fast-forward one year. My car is littered with masks. I have learned the Social Distance dance, where body language determines intimacy, as we dosey – dose into an elbow bump or maybe just a flapping hand that looks like a wounded pigeon. We are New Englanders here, so the six feet rule in itself is no hardship. Yet for loved ones, especially those who are vulnerable, we are charting new waters without a compass. We are too cautious or blatantly reckless. No one gets it just right.
Tomorrow marks 19 years since my son Spencer died. The earth did more than rumble that day – it opened up and swallowed me whole. When I could emerge and look around, my world was completely changed. Anyone who’s lost a child knows this – you don’t put your life back together. You must build a new one. Nineteen years later, I can see back to those early days of smoke and rubble. Yet there was one thing that did not change – my God. I couldn’t feel it or even see it for a while, but I had a foundation to build on, I had a Helper to build alongside of me. “Come to me,” Jesus says, “and I will give you rest.” As long as I stayed close by, it wasn’t even hard. Tedious, tiresome and slow. But there was rest.
Nineteen years is a long time to miss your boy. But I look at what God has built, in my life and the lives of those I love most and prayed for most, and I am grateful. When Moses shuddered and stalled before stepping back into Egypt to face Pharaoh, God simply said, “Tell them I AM sent you.”
I AM answers every question before it’s even asked.
I AM omnipotent.
I AM omniscient.
I AM the Beginning and the End – the Author and Finisher of your faith.
I AM mercy and wrath, justice and grace, holy and Love everlasting.
And a sure foundation.
I’ve never had a problem with fearing God. The One who strings the stars also formed me in the womb. He heard my cry from the wreckage of a life lived without him, and He reached into the sludge and rescued me. I am more in awe of His power and grace now, 33 years later, than then. I don’t want to take a step without Him. It’s a holy fear – the good kind. And when I met Jesus, the one He sent to redeem and save us, all of heaven threw a party. All of God’s kids get a party – they really know how to have fun in heaven
There’s different kinds of devastation. Losing your child is a head-on collision. In one second – it’s all over. Covid-19 is a slow leak. We think we can fix it, or at least slow it down, but then we see another leak. For all we’ve done, or not done, it’s worse than ever. We’re tired now, just doggie-paddling with the current, masks on. Uncertainty blankets the future, anxiety morphs into hopelessness. I will not give you more numbers – percentage spikes in addiction, suicide and violence. Bleak economic predictions. It’s just not good.
“Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden.” Jesus again. How does He know? Refer back to the I AM part of this blog.
I admit I get weary too. I’m not sure when I can fly to Malaysia again. I’m not sure my vaccination will work or won’t kill me. I’m a nurse in a hospital filled up with Covid patients and I want to die when I put on PPE that feels like I’m shrink-wrapped and talking through a wad of Wet Wipes.
God is there and He’s waiting. In a world that can’t control a microbe, God is still in control. A sure foundation – won’t you go to Him? Jesus has His arms open wide, and once He has you, He will never let you go. Heaven waits for another party and I hope it’s yours.
By Celtic Worship