“Our life is not willed by God to be an endless anxiety. It is, rather, meant to be an embrace, but that entails being caught by God.” – Walter Brueggemann
Grief to grief. Night to night. Trial to temptation to failure to burden. This is sometimes the loudest rhythm of our lives. We catch our breath and raise our shields preparing for the next attack of this hostile world that is not our home.
How many of you reading this are struggling against that demon of anxiety? What will this present world-wide crisis mean for you and your loved ones? How many are taking on the cares of today, and tomorrow and all of the possible tomorrows now and finding them suffocating? I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to enter that valley.
Rumors are spreading here about Chinese, who don’t exist, living in central Karamoja and dying of coronavirus. Other rumors say it has reached the west. There have been no official cases reported to date in Uganda. No one knows what is true or false. Every cough is suspect. Fear and panic are seeping into a country that has successfully beat back ebola. There are tests at the borders and the airport, but who knows if hospitals have or will ever receive them. We would be pleasantly astonished for them to be delivered to our clinic.
What does it mean to be caught by God in an embrace in the midst of this? It means having a foundation that is not shaken by the wisp of every rumor. It means not losing our eternity in an effort to preserve our temporary life. It remains retaining our humanity, our God-image, in how we treat strangers and loved ones alike. The gospel of love and self-sacrifice still apply. Why does the toddler jump off the couch carefree? Because she knows she will be caught by the strong, protecting, loving arms of her parent. It is complete trust in a savior who is in complete control. What freedom is ours?!
In Karimojong the word “to guard” is also the same word “to protect” and “to wait”, or in certain circumstance “to care for”. I love that sense of patient, all-encompassing defense driven by affection. Ikidari AkujGod will protect you, guard you, care for you, wait for you. And He will not fail.
Being embraced by God at a time like this, means rejoicing in our God-given freedoms, giving thanksgiving even in bleak days, always seeking His face above the whims of the media, and being guarded by His peace which surpasses understanding. May we all be caught in that heavenly embrace!
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”