What if there was no good news to give us confidence that we could get through the troubles facing us now? What if there was no good news to assure us that we are cherished, loved and supported, that we are not alone?
Fortunately, bad news does not come in a void, because the good news is always close to us, to give us the support we need to endure and, ultimately, overcome any bad news.
“I will be found by you” (Jeremiah 29:14)
This is one of the clearest assurances in the Bible. And it is accompanied by even more good news: God thinks well of us. He does not look at us with prejudice, He does not have the inclination to blame us. Instead, He plans to reconcile with us even after our relationship with Him cools, for whatever reason. He plans to give us a better future and a hope. He plans for the losses we have suffered in the meantime to lose their relevance.
God knows that losses can be swallowed up by the benefits of the friendship, the sincerity, and the trust of a relationship between us and Him that is given a second chance.
When the crisis stopped our engines, a certain silence fell, allowing us to hear the secrets of our souls. We were thus pushed to admit that we know, at least in part, what or who brought us here. Not in the pandemic crisis, but in the personal crisis, generated by a lack of deep satisfaction, of love, of understanding, a crisis we came to discover only now. And the certainty that we are not where we need to be and that we are not going where we should go only increases as the crisis changes the way we look at our values. The fear that we will not be able to leave everything behind is met by the promise: “My grace is sufficient for you” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
To move forward
The news that God does not keep score the way we may have thought He does, but rather is eager to forget the past and change the future, lifts a huge burden from our shoulders.
It is, in fact, the best answer to a crisis that tempts us to ask “Why?” and to suspect, at the same time, that Someone who knows everything about us will blame us, at least partly.
Yet, amidst the crisis, the focus is not on who is at fault. What concerns God is not the blame game. His focus is on those who want to be saved, on those who will give glory to God by choosing Him, confirming that they understand that their guilt is covered for and that God’s love is the only thing that matters. In this way they show that they understand something about meaning.
Not just about meaning, but also about direction
A life lived in the atmosphere of God’s forgiveness speaks of a meaning derived from the meaning of His life.
Christ lived to do good and made a life out of doing good. He prayed for those who enjoyed His outstretched hands, words of comfort, and support. His was a life of prayer. Our meaning today cannot be different.
As for direction, we know that we are going toward Him, and He is coming toward us. We can only go forward.
Without the risk of getting lost…
With the thought of such a meeting, let’s start talking to God more, right now. Because, on this side of history, experience shows us that, often, it is nothingness that we fear more than death; of being lost rather than of closing our eyes. We fear non-existence more than the mere lack of life.
But God has promised that, in spite of death, nothing can separate us from Him. The chain that pulled us away from Him—sin—lies at our feet or, rather, at His feet.
… Even beyond death
The promise of never being separated from God is not metaphorical or spiritual. It’s not vague either. It is as real and concrete as possible. It is the great fulfilment for which Jesus Christ accepted, even desired, to sacrifice Himself—so that the world might again become what it was created to be: a world in which separation is eliminated forever. A world in which He promised to bring us back to life. Abundant and endless. In fact, we will regain everything we lost and everything we never had, through the door that God opens for us: Himself.
A time to live by faith
With such comprehensive promises extending toward the crisis and beyond it, toward death and beyond it, this is a time to live by faith.
With bad news or threats surrounding us on all sides, with the pressure sometimes rising beyond imagination, we can still be at peace (Exodus 14:14). Living quietly by faith is not a heroic gesture, it is not a goal to look at with a perfectionist’s eye. It is only God’s counsel, His desire for us.
…because God is with us not only in the beyond, but also here
It’s actually more than counsel, it’s an invitation. He is already where we will be. He is already in the dangers we are about to go through. And even if He seems indifferent to us or seems to be sleeping in the storm, let us remember that His apparent absence is in fact only His peace. It is not absence, it is presence, support and help. It is the confirmation that nothing that happens is above Him.
What do we make of what is happening to us?
Understanding what is happening to us requires that we first inform ourselves correctly, that we learn the known causes of the things that are happening.
But, ultimately, understanding what is happening to us means understanding that God’s silence does not mean abandonment, that when He does not intervene in the way we expect does not mean that we should do things in our own strength.
Let us understand that God should not be seen in gestures that He does not make. At the same time, we must not lose sight of Him when we do not see anything out of the ordinary.
In peace and trust we can move forward. While manifesting His presence, sometimes visibly, sometimes in ways that only our soul can distinguish, God goes with us every time. In the water, in the desert, in the disease, in the burning furnace, there is never just one. There are always two.
Norel Iacob is Editor in Chief of ST Network and Semnele timpului.