I am appalled at some of the headlines these days about how individuals are responding to the government restrictions. I am appalled at my own tendency toward impatience when I am told to do or not do something especially when tensions run high.
We are selfish beings, idolatrous in how we are so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we fail to be wholly capable of community, of collective responsibility. Optimists (idealists?) thought this global suffering would draw people together, but it seems the opposite is happening, at least at large. Suffering reveals what’s already present in the body; it does not change a person, grace does.
I’m reeling in how broken humanity is. We have no hope at all apart from Jesus. We can try as hard as we want to stay the power of evil, now in the form of an invisible virus leaping from host to host. We are small and incapable and foolish and prideful and fearful and fragile. We wander and we self-serve.
Yet none of this comes as a surprise to God. He has always known our scary human nature. He has always known the futile sandcastles we build and worship, the wobbly plans we cling to, the blindness with which we claim sight. He has always known and he died for us still. He loves us still.
Mercy is even more wild than suffering, makes even less sense.
Hans Boersma wrote an article in which he argued how we cannot talk about our suffering without talking about Christ’s suffering. It is tempting but dangerous to approach the novel coronavirus without a steady recognition of Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection. Boersma leans into the tiny verse, “Jesus wept” as a certain indication both of Christ’s identification with our death and the overwhelming hope we have of eternal life.
“Our suffering lies encapsulated in his suffering, our weeping in his weeping.” Therein we rest.