It feels as though the Lord is revealing a reenactment of the Easter history in the world today.
As we shut ourselves into our homes to avoid the presence of viral death, it feels like the closing of a tomb.
As we wait in breathless, exhausting solitude for the danger to pass, it feels like the stillness of death.
When we finally step outside our doors into the light of restored fellowship, it will feel like a resurrection.
Without that third part--without the rising from the dead--the story's ending is not worth reading. We remain huddled in separation and social death and fear, with no hope of deliverance. We must have hope. We must know that renewed life is part of the story.
What would the world do if, tomorrow, a man stepped forward and said, "I've found a way to absorb all of the coronavirus into myself, to die for everyone else so that not one single person will ever again suffer from the virus"? Would we take him up on the offer? Wouldn't there be a worldwide celebration that this nightmare was over because of one man's sacrifice?
Coronavirus kills only a percentage of its victims. Last I checked, the death rate for humanity is 100 percent. That is because of sin. Follow this Biblical explanation:
"Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned... But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many." (Romans 5:12, 15)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
It took an unjust death to give us undeserved life. In Christ's death, a single innocent Man immersed Himself into the infinite terror of divine and righteous judgment and won deliverance for our sakes. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
A substitutionary death is important, but even more important is the resurrection afterward. 1 Corinthians chapter 15 is the foundation of faith in Christ. Without the resurrection, you have only a dead carpenter whose wise sayings were mingled with delusions of divinity. You have the bitterest hoax ever played on mankind, because it means that there is no solution to the darkest parts of our hearts, there is no deliverance from the suffering of life, there is no ultimate significance to anything that happens, and death is the end of the story. The best things humanity has to offer end up rotting in a grave.
"If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins... If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19)
With Christ's resurrection, you have a single reality that reversed every worst fear.
Jesus knew that "what you sow does not come to life unless it dies." (1 Corinthians 15:36) You can't plant a seed without burying it. You can't gain the plant's fruitfulness until it abandons its former state as a seed and becomes something new, a growing plant. So all things that are of any worth are born through a type of death. The old must die for the new to arise.
Jesus' death erased our sins. Jesus' resurrection credited all His perfection to us. Put another way, His death canceled our infinite debt. His resurrection filled our accounts with infinite treasure.
What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body... When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 54-55)
So as I sit in the tomb-separation of social isolation, as I long for the end of this nightmare when I can return to the vibrancy and fellowship of life, I want to be conscious of the reenactment of the best Story that ever was written in blood and love. I want my grief to be turned toward the necessity of my innocent Savior's death on my behalf. I want my loss of freedom and fellowship to be a reminder of the separation He felt from the Father He loved most in the universe.
And when this difficult time is over, I want my emergence into the embraces and unrestricted access to the people I love most to be a reminder that Christ's resurrection purchased mine too. I can know the Father with as much freedom as Christ does.
You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" (Romans 8:15)
On earth, I don't know the outcome. I think it likely--but I'm not certain--that I will be one of the fortunate ones who emerges from the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 unscathed. But in the matter of my eternal soul, I know the outcome. It is already guaranteed. I live "in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began." (Titus 1:2) I am vigilant and conscious, therefore, remembering that "blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)
The resurrection comes!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives.
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