Coronavirus and Christ (Day 2)

The Rock Is Solid Right Now

We started this series yesterday with my cancer diagnosis and 1 Thessalonians 5:9–10:
God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
Someone might read that and say, “Religious people like you can find hope only in the by-and-by. If they are safe beyond the grave, they have what they want. But this ‘word of God’ they talk about offers little involvement right now. God got everything started in creation, I suppose, and makes happily-ever-after endings. But what about in between? Where is he now—right now, during this coronavirus outbreak?”
Well, I guess I do put a really high value on joy in the presence of God after death for unending billions of years. As opposed to, say, endless suffering. That seems reasonable to me. But the Rock under my feet (the one I would like you to share) really is under my feet now. Now!
The coronavirus pandemic is where I live. Where we all live. And if it weren’t the coronavirus, it would be the cancer just waiting to recur. Or the unprovoked pulmonary embolism from 2014 just waiting to break off and go to my brain and turn me into a mindless man who will never write another sentence. Or a hundred other unforeseen calamities that could take me—and you—down at any moment. 
The Rock I am talking about is under my feet now. I could say that the Rock is under my feet now just because hope beyond the grave is present hope. The object of hope is future. The experience of hope is present. And that present experience is powerful. 
Hope is power. Present power. Hope keeps people from killing themselves—now. It helps people get out of bed and go to work—now. It gives meaning to daily life, even locked-down, quarantined, stay-at-home life—now. It liberates from the selfishness of fear and greed—now. It empowers love and risk taking and sacrifice—now. 
So be careful before you belittle the by-and-by. It just may be that when your by-and-by is beautiful and sure, your here and now will be sweet and fruitful. 

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