As I was eating a bite of bread pudding this morning, a thought wandered into my mind that our comfort was being shaken during this pandemic of COVID-19. All the things that we TRUST, and the things we take comfort in, are being shaken, I believe.
I don’t make bread pudding very often as I am the only one who will eat it in my household. I was savoring it and enjoying the very “comfort” of its availability. I had made it the day before with leftover stale sugar cookies and leftover stale bread that I had saved in the freezer. I was using things up and not wasting, just like my grandparents who came through the Depression in the previous century had taught me. Grandma would be proud. She’s in Heaven now.
I also thought about the man in the Bible whose friends tore a hole in the roof of the house which I mentioned in a prior post. See here. The question I asked in that post was this: How many of us would do that? In our PC world of “I need you to like me,” I think very few would do that. In our we-go-to-the-doctor-for-everything world, not only would very few do this, i.e., destroy the roof of someone’s house, risking a lawsuit and the disapproval of the community in order to get someone in front of Jesus for a healing, I believe we would simply take them to the doctor. It’s much easier…and more socially acceptable. And because it’s easier, we are not that desperate. Because there are doctors to “cure” us, we are just not. that. desperate.
I first heard the term, “easier, softer way” in 12-step groups many years ago. The term describes a basic characteristic of human nature: when confronted with a decision, the temptation and more-often-than-not chosen course was the “easier, softer way.” In other words, if there is an easier way, human nature is programmed to choose it for our own comfort. Even Jesus before He went to the cross, prayed to His Father in Heaven, “if there is any other way..” In my own paraphrase, His humanity was saying, “Father, I really don’t want to go through this and if there is any other way, I would rather do that.” He went on to say, “Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.” He chose the inconceivably more difficult, gut-wrenching course.
Our country is an unbelievably prosperous nation. Even the poorest among us have access to the latest technology, even if they are supported by the rest of us, i.e. through state aid. The poorest among us, when compared with the poor in other countries, are considered rich. To the ungrateful, this condition of national prosperity naturally begets a certain blase´, take-for-granted attitude about our blessings. We get used to a certain lifestyle; we get comfortable. The grateful can also fall into this condition, but it is less likely.
But in this pandemic, it is all being touched. Everything we take for granted is being touched. Everything we derive comfort from is being shaken. This is not a bad thing. I recall the Israelites, when their whole life of slavery in Egypt was being shaken, as Moses went before the powers of Egypt and demanded, “Let my people go.” The Israelites saw their whole life (of oppression, nevertheless) and whatever might have brought them comfort being shaken, as God began to deliver them to become a mighty and prosperous force. They had to go through a lot. There are places in the Bible where we read of them pining for the good food of Egypt as they were in the wilderness, eating only a bread called manna that dropped from Heaven each day, as God was teaching them to rely only on Him. Just so, I hear our society longing for things to be as they were before COVID-19 became a threat. But I think we are done with that. I think our nation will never be what it was before. I’m not speaking of its natural prosperity. I’m speaking of its spiritual prosperity. I think that will change…and it needed to change. We were on a course that could only end one way: destruction.
As governors in various parts of the country have touched the people’s right to purchase seeds to even plant their own gardens, we see a shaking, a shaking of faith in our government leaders to do the right thing for their people. Leaders are being divided along authoritarian lines. Blue state governors are showing how they really feel about their people. In all fairness, it may simply be a knee-jerk, overreaction based on fear, as no one has dealt with anything like this type of unknown before in our lifetimes. For others, I suspect it is more…a hidden, despotic agenda that lurks in their unsaved hearts. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Jer. 17:9.
I like to go to Bible stories for examples of what others have gone through and how God helped them, how He worked with them for good. Is it possible our nation is going through this so that we too, as Israel, might “become a mighty and prosperous force” again?