May 11, 2020
Weekly Reflection – A Reflection on the Times of COVID-19
This week’s reflection is on the times of COVID-19 that we are living through. There is so much good writing out there that I often despair at adding to it. Here is one example. This Reflection was written a couple of weeks ago by Chaplain Dawn Malone who ministers in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Chaplain Malone gives us an analogy of our first 40 days of quarantine versus Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. And on day 41 what did Jesus and what might WE do?
Blessings and peace,
Day 40 of the COVID-19 Quarantine
By my count, it was forty days ago today that we were told to stay home. I think about the significance of 40 days…I think about Christ in the desert, hungry and thirsty without food and water, alone with his thoughts, disconnected from human companionship… His humanity, though not his Divinity, at a seriously low and vulnerable point…and that’s when the enemy showed up…
I think about the forty days we’ve just lived through…If we are sharing these very thoughts through writing and reading then we are the ones who have lived through these days. That’s a bleak realization. Where are we today compared to forty days ago? We have been separated from each other. We have had more time to think than most of us have had in years. We find we are hungry and thirsty—some of us literally as jobs have vanished—but all of us spiritually and mentally as we yearn to know what to expect, what the outcome of all of this will be.
We, in our own time, are in a place like Jesus was after forty days in the desert. Weakened. Vulnerable. All too human. But it is out of His Divinity Jesus speaks to the enemy. And how does God, the Second Person of the Trinity, respond to the tempter?
“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
“It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”
Jesus fulfills the scripture even as he speaks! He is the Word coming forth from the mouth of God! And by responding in this way, Jesus is affirming who he is—because the real temptation here isn’t the lure of bread, but the desire to prove oneself; to prove that He is the Son of God—but we know Christ owes no proof to his own creatures. The mere fact that we “live and move and have our being” is the proof.
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will support you lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
“Again, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”
This time, it’s still about Jesus proving himself, but it’s also about testing Jesus’ trust in His Father. And in his response, Jesus both affirms his trust in His Father and again affirms his own Divinity. Because Jesus is the Lord our God.
“All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
“Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’”
Life and the universe are not the enemy’s possession to give. He has been given power over them for a time but it is Christ, begotten by the Father from all eternity, who is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. It is from God we receive everything and to whom we owe our worship and our service.
So how do the words of Christ “post-40 days” give us strength for our time?
- We don’t have to prove ourselves in the midst of all of this. It’s tempting to feel like we should be doing something heroic or extraordinary. Maybe we believe if we don’t or can’t, we aren’t really the sons and daughters of God. But in fact, we don’t need to go looking for ways to distinguish ourselves—that’s pride and that’s about us, not Him. God will ask things of us if we listen; they may be quiet, humble works of service that no one else will see. But if they are tendered to God out of obedience, because we let His will guide us, that’s all we need to offer. His Providence makes our offerings enough.
- We need to trust God! We struggle sometimes to believe in our identity and to behave like we are His children, but we should be 100% confident in who He is. He is faithful, he never changes, and he has promised to be with us always.
- Finally, we have to remember—this world belongs to God, not the enemy. Satan may seem to triumph for a time, maybe even a long time in our minds, but he does not own God’s creation—not the world and not us. We belong to God—he made us and he wants us. Christ reminds us that our job is to worship and serve him. He chooses to be our Father out of love for us. And he gives us free will to make a choice to “worship and serve Him alone.”
On day 41, Jesus started his ministry…his humanity may have been a bit weakened but his Divinity was rock solid. He knew who he was, whose he was, and who God is.
Tomorrow is day 41 for us. Do we know who we are, whose we are, and who God is to us?
Note: The opinions expressed in this Reflection on the times of COVID-19 that we are living through are intended to be those of the author alone based on his understanding of the Bible and how God works with his people. The body of this particular Reflection originated with Chaplain Dawn Malone.
Read more reflections, Forming Intentional Families X: Acknowledge and Share our Gifts and Talents