Times like these can, through the work of the Holy Spirit, have the effect of stripping the illusion of control from our lives. Busy schedules have been interrupted, plans have been canceled, events postponed, and now there are many suddenly “empty” agendas. And as such, we find ourselves at risk of at least two false comforts:
First, the immediate temptation to try and comfort ourselves by trying to maintain an illusion of control.
Filling our downtime with new “productive activities” that we would let define us and our worth. Forced stillness can reveal an addiction to “doing” or “being” that, while wearing a mask of goodness, can stem from a desire to earn righteousness in the sight of others and of God.
Secondly, a temptation to comfort ourselves by overindulging in mindless entertainment.
Binging on Netflix, video games, fiction, etc. for hours on end, denying our worth in this way: that Jesus paid such a cost for us to be content to sit on our talents and let our lives ephemerally float past while others are in despair, searching for hope.
In a recent sermon that Kate and I listened to, the pastor warned against trying to live our lives from the “outside, in” -looking to external activities, even religious ones, for our value and worth-instead of defining our lives in Christ. Somehow, this hymn has also been stuck in my head over the last few days, ministering to me with lyrics like:
“As summer flowers we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross”
In this time of awareness and reflection on our collective, global weakness and need, we have a great opportunity to join in with the global church, declaring our deeper, better comfort by joyfully “boasting in our Redeemer, the wellspring of our souls.”