written by Matt Swanton
Did you grow up as I did, looking towards 2020 as the “year of the future”? I remember reading science magazines and watching TV shows that imagined video calls, pocket computers, robot household assistants, automated self-driving cars, immersive VR headsets… I was stoked to see what the future had in store for us and watched earnestly as one by one these technological fantasies entered the realm of reality. I just didn’t really anticipate… well, this.
For all our bold innovations improving and enhancing our everyday lives, it turns out humanity remains brutally fragile.
For me personally, 2020 was packed to the brim with opportunities to create sacred beauty for the world to behold, inspire God’s church in Western Europe to author new songs of worship, even point a whole city to Jesus Christ.
I have a lot of questions for God right now, but the biggest is why He would lead us, in the words of William Carey, to "attempt great things" for His Kingdom when those great things wind up being cancelled, postponed, and forgotten. At the beginning of the year, we looked ahead in readiness and expectation, having a clear sense of God's leadership and guidance. We grieve over the loss of these opportunities and feel the frustration of the meaninglessness of our labour.
I've since been convicted by Job's words: "Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10b). While we could discuss theologically what ultimately is the source of evil, the reality is that God is sovereign - nothing is beyond His rule. He could have constrained the damage of the virus to people, economies, and cultures, yet He didn't. Or maybe He has constrained it, and our situation could have been more dire than it is presently?
What if our sacred ministry in these days isn’t so much to aim high or aim big; but rather to look to the small ways we can daily care for each other?
Following verse 10, we’re told that "in all this Job did not sin with his lips." In the midst of catastrophic loss, as complaints fill our prayers, can we remain confident in God's continued and steadfast Lordship over this crisis? Certainly not on our own, but in the grace gifted to us through Jesus we can trust Him more fully. Maybe that's the point - He is teaching us to trust Him and serve the world where we are. Hey, isn’t that the essence of the law: to love God, and love others?
"Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor... From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever." Romans 11:34-36
Am I rambling? Maybe a little. I’ll quit here, gonna go make a video phone call on my pocket computer and check in on my sister in Australia, she seems to be finding these days kinda hard.