This Easter will be unlike any I have experienced. Instead of the familiarity of sharing a solemn Friday and a jubilant Sunday with fellow believers, I’ll spend the weekend in my home, with my girls, reading, playing games, bingeing on TV, walking the dogs until they eventually hide at the sight of the leash, and ‘doing church online’.
I wish I could say that I could see this coming, that I was prepared, that I had put contingencies in place, that I’d written a step-wise plan that allowed me to quickly pivot my life, my family, and my work to the new reality.
I couldn’t, I wasn’t, I didn’t, I hadn’t.
As an organisation, we at ALID had spent more hours than I care to count writing a risk register that included economic downturn, civil war, reputational damage, key person vulnerabilities etc. We didn’t have pandemic as a line item and if we had, I doubt we might have imagined it invoking global travel bans, limits on gatherings, and mandated social distancing.
In short, I’ve been caught out. The pandemic has exposed my complete lack of preparedness for an event such as this.
But greater than that, I’ve been confronted by how dependent I am on material things, on plans of my own making, on the temporal. How something as simple as a shortage of toilet paper can induce fear, or queues at an unemployment centre can crush confidence, or cancellation of a long-anticipated event can generate disillusionment.
We woke up one day and it seemed that everything had changed, and the future was very uncertain.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8
What hasn’t changed yet and won’t change ever? What can I cling to with any sense of certainty?
The same Jesus that I put my faith in thirty-five years ago still loves me and gave himself for me. He still loves us and gave himself for us. He wasn’t taken by surprise, he isn’t scrambling for a plan, he has unlimited resources, and didn’t need to pivot because he was already precisely where he needed to be.
I am reminded more loudly than ever before that I am not what I do, what I possess, or what others think of me. I am first and foremost, a child of God, an image bearer, a disciple of Jesus, a member of His body – the church, a co-heir with Christ. Through his death on the cross, resurrection from the dead, and by the sending His Spirit, he has equipped us with everything we need.
While it’s so tempting to place my trust elsewhere, the One most deserving of my trust is the same One I put my faith in decades ago. What I have in Christ is secure and cannot be taken away from me.
In Matthew 6, Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
So, in the days, weeks and months ahead, where you and I need to make so many shifts and adjustments be sure to shift any un-surrendered treasure completely over to Jesus. If your worth is derived from something other than Jesus, adjust and find your value in Him alone. You are safe there. Your heart is safe there.
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.
Priscilla J. Owens (1882)