In this time of uncertainty due to the Coronavirus pandemic, something is being highlighted in me. It’s not pleasurable, but it is reality. I have been reminded that I don’t do well with pain and suffering.
I desire to support those who themselves are walking through pain and suffering. But when it comes into my life, I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
Today I was again aware of my rising anxiety in light of the current situation in our world. I had classes to teach (via live video), so I was able to push the anxiety down early this morning. We are trained very well in doing this. I have my merit badge, having reached a very skilled level in dismissing anxiety.
But classes had to end – and they did. With that, I found myself sitting in the quietness of my office.
No one around. Complete and utter silence.
I tried to busy myself with this and that task, but I finally had to deal with the anxiety that was bubbling forth in my gut.
As I said, I don’t like pain and suffering. And don’t even try to bring in the aspect of death itself. Please, not that.
So, as you can tell, I didn’t want to deal with the feelings. But I knew I had to. I’ve at least learned I have to deal with it or things will only get worse. A lot worse.
So I put everything down, closed my eyes, started listening, started feeling. The quietness was so very real. A moment later, I turned my chair to look out the window and ponder, pray, feel. It was in that moment that I noticed something.
There were lots and lots of buildings. Less and less cars than normal, but lots of buildings – the same ones that have always been there. Hotels, office spaces, parking garages, etc.
Yet, something else caught my eye.
These crosses were set on top of church buildings and steeples.
It’s my understanding that steeples were put in place (especially when churches were much more parish-oriented) so that the people could readily identify where the local church was set up. With this, parishioners could travel to the place of gathered worship with a bit more ease.
Here I found these three crosses peaking over the horizon. They stood as beacons of hope for me.
Those many buildings fill the skyline and, for me, they represented our life – life pre-Corona and life in the midst of Corona. Much is crowding our spaces. So very much. Normally my eyes would have only seen those other buildings – those hotels, parking garages, businesses, and more. But when I paused and listened, when I really looked, I saw something much more significant cutting across the horizon. My eyes fell upon the three empty crosses.
In that moment, I remembered the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that resurrection is our own promise and hope, and that sickness and death do not have the final say for the Christian community.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Rom 6:5)
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Rom 8:11)
Resurrection is our final destiny. Death (and all that leads to death) will have lost its victory one day; it will have lost its sting (1 Cor 15:54-57). That is the sure promise and hope.
As I began to contemplate these crosses in the skyline, God did a work in me. My fear of pain, suffering, even the great enemy of death, has moved to a deeper trust. I do not know how long the Coronavirus will play out. I do not know what tomorrow holds, how long schools and businesses will be closed, how my finances will be, if my family members or myself will contract the virus. But I know the promise and hope of resurrection. And it is in that reality that I find peace and a vanquishing of the anxiety I felt so greatly stirring in my gut this morning.
I saw Christ in the midst of the chaos this morning. In the midst of my own anxiety. I was reminded that resurrection is the story of Jesus and, thus, resurrection is our story.
The photo above is from Andrew Seaman – chapel under starry sky.