May 8, 2020
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Our high school grandson came up with "Hmmm" kind of gems. "Life's different from school. In school you have the lessons then the test. In life, you have the test, then the lessons." Like I said, "Hmmm." Now, we hear a lot about the need for more testing in this pandemic to know what's going on inside of people if we're going to contain and trace this virus. Yeah, we need to be testing for coronavirus, but the fact is the coronavirus has been testing us with fear and financial stress, disruption and distance and loss of control and connection. There's something about a crisis like this that exposes what's inside.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "COVID Testing - Pass or Fail."
So it's like three kinds of tests we're taking. One is the family test - what's really more important, my family or my work. A lot of families are, I call them carnival bumper cars. Each morning we hit the gas petal, head in different directions, and occasionally bump into each other. But suddenly we're together a lot. And all this time together can reveal several diagnoses. One, my family relationships are healthy; we're communicating, we're forgiving, listening, laughing. Or we've become strangers through neglect. Or it can show how toxic and hurtful our relationships have become. First the test, then the lessons.
Binging on being home may expose the consequences of our misplaced priorities. Business and busyness and causes, the gym, the church, sports, activities; they can push those we love to the margins of our life. And they're taken for granted and seldom heard. So, maybe of the lesson is that the people in our family are treasures that we need to re-treasure. It's time to make memories while there's still time. Make each day count for the people that count.
Beyond the family tester is the facade test. Who's the real guy behind the facade that everybody sees? To find out what's in an unmarked tube you squeeze it. Same with people. What comes out when you're squeezed? This pandemic has squeezed us all, and ugly stuff may surface that's normally hidden. Like an "all about me" bottom line, or smoldering anger, a closet control freak, mean spirit, dangerous depression, long-denied addiction.
Darth Vader is not the only one with a dark side. We all have one. And the pandemic squeeze may force it out, and that can be good if we finally face the inner darkness. And facing it could mean saying, "Please, forgive me" or "Help" in getting the help we need with our brokenness. What the squeeze has exposed could be healed. But see, facing it is the first step to fixing it and being free from it
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from actually Romans 7, beginning with verse 19. And I love the candor of the Bible writer. He said, "I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Who will free me?" And he found the answer to that desperate to change question where millions have found it. "Thank God, the answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord."
Which leads me to that last coronavirus test that I've taken a lot - the faith test. Because after all is said and done, where is my ultimate trust in my life? You see, it's not until the things we really trust in are suddenly not there that we realize where our trust really is. That basically comes down to trusting in human solutions and methods and strength. Where the Bible says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart," but our default go-to isn't our faith. It's ourselves. When that's stripped away, we finally go beyond believing in God to really needing God.
What is there when all there's left is just you? Is there a hole in your heart? Is there an emptiness inside? Has your trust been in you? You know, the fact is that nothing like a situation we're in now will reveal, as it does, our need for a relationship with God. He is the answer to our loneliness, to our despair, to our inadequacy. And that is why Jesus came, and that is why Jesus died for our sin on the cross. And that's why it's such good news He's alive, that He walked out of His grave. And maybe today this is your day to put your trust in the One unlosable person there is.
I suspect the tests aren't over yet, but neither are the lessons. There's meaning in this mayhem. There's a point to this pain.