Now the Lord said to Abraham, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Genesis 12:1-3 (NRSV)
The Bible is full of stories of people whose lives were rearranged in unexpected ways. One of my favorites is when Abraham was told by God to leave his home and travel to an unknown land. Abraham obeyed, gathering his family and belongings. Abraham walked hundreds of miles to this new and unfamiliar territory known as Canaan. Upon arriving, God told Abraham that the land on which he was standing was a promised land that future generations of his family would occupy forever.
Not knowing the people or the culture of Canaan, Abraham found his life turned upside down. The next 13 chapters of Genesis detail story after story of how Abraham was willing to sacrifice and trust God for a promise he would never see come to fruition. I’ve always found it amazing that Abraham was willing to rearrange his life for future generations. Today, with the Corona virus rearranging all of our lives, I now have a fuller appreciation for what he went through and why he would be willing to trust God and make those sacrifices.
This virus has upended people’s lives all over the world. Like Abraham, we find ourselves walking into new and unfamiliar territory. It’s no longer business as usual. We are sequestered away in our homes, waiting and hoping that our efforts will prevent the spread of this deadly virus. On the other end of this quarantine is a promised land where we are able to enjoy our freedom. To complete the analogy, we are sacrificing a lot in the hopes that we, and future generations, can live abundant lives.
What I know to be true is that my life, like yours, has been completely rearranged. Within this new normal, I see a lot of fear in people’s eyes and that fear is driven by myriad of unanswered questions: How long will this go on? How many people will die? Will I lose my job? Will I have enough resources to make it to the other side of this? These are the questions we start asking when our survival is at stake and, like you, I don’t have the answers.
All we can do is hope and pray that our sacrifice will set us on the path to renewal. Like Abraham, we are dealing with a lot of unknowns, but within those unknowns is a hope that rearranging our lives now will result in a new and better life for all of us in the future. My prayer for you, is that you might know you are not alone. God loves you. Your community loves you and, together, we will make it to the other side of this stronger, wiser and more faithful.