(Originally written 26 April 2020)

Good morning to all my friends, believer and not. It’s Sunday 26 April, and I want to always begin Sundays with a faith-based post.

It seems like all we do right now is wait. It’s been since the first week in March now that society has closed – Spring Break week in Texas, oddly enough. That’s about 48 days or so. Society has suffered greatly in health, in economics, and in mental health. In a sense, we have been exiled to a bizarre Coronavirus world. The invader has arrived and carried us off to a way of life that we don’t understand and that we don’t like. While a small number of us on the “front lines” work to keep things afloat, most of us do what little we can to stay sane and not just break down and give up.

Israel felt like this a lot. For a while there, it seemed like every time you turned around, Israel was thumbing its nose at God – doing things they shouldn’t do, ignoring God’s laws. It didn’t seem to matter how many times that course of action led to pain and suffering, usually at the hands of other invading nations. They just kept stepping in it. The prophets kept telling them, over and over, what mistakes they were making, but no one cared because things seemed to be going well. However, before they knew it, it had all come crashing down, and they were once again forced to accept their own powerlessness.

How many of us today feel like that? While the virus is just a natural phenomenon, it does feel like an invader, doesn’t it? What should WE do? Too many of us are turning on each other. Domestic violence and child abuse cases rise. Social media turns toxic. Death is used for political capital. Good people begin talking like hate-filled bigots and finding people to scapegoat, and violence against Asians increases. People eat heartworm medication, ingest disinfectants, and make other outlandish claims, looking for the “way out.” We become the animal trapped in the cage that spends hours and hours trying to find the exit, until we finally just lay down in a corner and lament our inability to do so.

Isaiah had to deal with the petulance of Israel a lot. He wrote many messages to the nation about how they had gotten to where they were and what they should be doing now. Perhaps one of the most well-known admonitions is Isaiah 40, which ends in verse 31:

“Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

In the midst of the chaos, in the center of hopelessness, in the throes of despair, when all of Israel is crying out to God and wondering where He went, Isaiah says to “wait.” The word in Hebrew is a specific kind of waiting, though.

It is the kind of waiting that children do on Christmas Eve.

It is the kind of waiting that a partner does for the inevitable marriage proposal.

It is the kind of waiting that expectant parents do for that moment when it’s time to go to the hospital.

It is the kind of waiting that rests in the hope that life’s trials will end, and that we will emerge from them as a people, but also that there is something we should learn in the process.

Have you considered that perhaps this is a great opportunity to align your priorities with that of God? Have you thought that maybe this is your chance to remove idols from your life? Have you wondered that maybe this is your moment to look inside and question things that you’ve compromised your faith on? Instead of frantically running around, looking for a door that you can’t open anyway, maybe it’s just time, as difficult as it is some days, to wait.

If you are a believer, then your hope is not in this world. We could stay in the cage forever and nothing would change about that. The world can take everything, but it can’t take what matters. And it is that hope on which we wait. But we will lose it if we remove our eyes from God and turn them inward onto our own self-pity and helplessness.

God bless you all.

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