What Am I Owed?

How long has quarantine been going on?

Who cares? It feels like it’s always been this way, can’t imagine it changing. With the exception of missing my church family, I could continue living this way indefinitely.

I order almost everything online

I grocery shop quickly and decisively

I hate wearing a mask but I do it

We have small and intimate gatherings at home, and we hug

We eat outside at restaurants

So there’s quarantine and it’s effects in a nutshell. When a vaccine comes along or some kind of antidote to Covid 19, I’ll be in line to receive it with bells on. I have no opinions, I just do what they say and go about my life. It’s too much effort to be over informed. Effort is my guideline these days. If effort is required I have to evaluate whether or not I have enough energy to exercise it. Because we’ve exerted a lot of effort over the past 3 months. And now we have to exert even more because,

Bruce was laid off

Yep. Didn’t see that one coming. He was promoted and given a raise in February. He helped determine some of the original layoffs when Covid locked down the company in March. He was reassured all through his illness that he was necessary. Then one week back to work and this.

We spent a couple of days in shock. We shut down our unnecessary expenses. We looked at our numbers and were grateful that we had some fall back cushion. We grieved at the idea that we might have to use it. We looked into healthcare options.

We cried

And then, God began to speak. I shared with Bruce that though we’ve been down this road too many times in life, we haven’t been down it with our church family. We serve alongside people who see how God cares for us. They know he brought us here, provided a home, landlords (a big deal in Chicago), how he’s caring for the homes we have in the suburbs and the people who rent them, how he supplies our needs and even gives us the means to help others. I had to acknowledge that,

My life is not my own

Another thought came to me through all of this, I’ve written about it before but it bears repeating.

God does not owe me The American Dream

Nor does he owe me A Comfortable Retirement

Those things are American constructs, not Biblical ones. As an American church we’ve adopted them into our culture and used them as a measuring stick to gauge how blessed we are.

When my eyes are fixed on the things that make my life comfortable and secure, I can’t see the way ahead. It’s only when my eyes are fixed on surrender that I can begin to understand that God may have a purpose in taking me down this path.

There was a year in my life when my cry was “I didn’t sign up for this”. I spoke it with regularity and passion. Bruce was patient and kind, but eventually he countered with,

“Yes, you did”

Psalm 73:15 (TPT) “If I had given into my pain and spoken of what I was really feeling, it would have sounded like unfaithfulness to the next generation.”

As a believer of 50+ years, my life must speak to the next generation of believers. They want to trust God when life falls apart. They rely on my “knowing” that God will care for them, their needs, their children’s needs and even their lives. It may not look like The American Dream, but God will be faithful.

I think of believers worldwide where The American Dream isn’t part of their faith culture. Martyred, persecuted, living in daily fear of being tossed on streets or in jail. Is their life any less blessed than mine?

I don’t think so

There is a big distinction between OT blessing and NT blessing…I think, we fall under the NT version. Understand, I’m not anti-wealth, I’m anti believing that I deserve it. There were wealthy believers in the NT, but I have a feeling that they held their wealth lightly and with open hands.

In my deepest places of knowing, I believe that American Christians are going to face some extraordinary challenges in the coming times. Our faith is going to be tested and refined in unimaginable ways. Our country needs a revival, but it requires Christians who can walk among the dry bones with the very breath of God to revive the dead. (Ezekiel 47:1-14)

It’s not going to come through political power, votes, campaigns, legal reform, or talking and walking. Nothing wrong with any of those things, but they alone will not fix America’s spiritual condition.

It’s only going to come through the power of God’s spirit expressed through his people. Lives that display his faithfulness in the face of extraordinary hardship. United in advancing his Kingdom. Loving each other with a love that defies cultural divisions. And knowing him in a way that expresses that love to a world filled with people grasping for answers.

That’s my hope and prayer for my own life too

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