Add Grace. Rinse. Repeat.

We are living in a unique moment. Likely, you are hearing a variety of responses to the Coronavirus. Some people are panicky and afraid, and are withdrawing for safety. Others are going on as if nothing is happening. Between those views there is a whole spectrum of belief and behavior. What are we to do with that? Where should we/you stand? Should you attend public events or visit the grocery store? Or, should you remain home? How should you view those that respond in a way different from you?

Paul, when he wrote the Christians in Rome, had the challenge of confronting an issue that divided Christians. The matter was debatable and not something scripture speaks to. Indeed, he explained that such matters are matters of faith. People are bound to disagree. The first thing we recognize in Paul’s letter is that that is okay. We are all at different places in our lives, our health, and our faith. How we respond will be different. The nature of grace is to allow for this. Rather than being critical of others and judging others for their perspective, he challenged the believers to make their decision based on faith and not on fear or pressure from others. This is more difficult than it sounds. It doesn’t mean disregarding science or the advice of others. It means asking God for wisdom, listening to others who can inform you, and then making a decision by faith. It means trusting God to work through that process, and taking the time to work and pray it through.

Even then, we will come out in different places. That is okay. It is more than okay. This is what it means to live in a community of grace. It means that we love one another even when we disagree. It means we trust that God is working in the lives of others and not only in our lives. It means we support and encourage each other the whole way through. There are no “I told you sos” or “I was right all along.” There is only grace. Why? All of us are fallible. None of us can see everything. We all see through a glass dimly. Each of us needs grace.

This is why we pray and rest in Jesus. Years ago while pastoring in New Jersey, I became involved in a ministry to serve patients with HIV. Today, we know a lot about HIV, but in the late 1980s it was surrounded by fear and suspicion. The state I was living in had moved nearly all patients with HIV into one hospital. People were so frightened at this point and so little was known about transmission that family members refused to visit their loved-ones. In the middle of this crisis, a grace-filled Christian woman began to invite people to visit this hospital, to befriend the patients and to provide spiritual care. I signed up and began to visit weekly with a small team of others. Each week we would bring in birthday cakes and make a circuit of the patient rooms to sing to them and pray for them.

I tell you this not so that you might think I am a hero. I’m not. Everyone on the team had fears. I remember one night taking some of the patients outside in wheelchairs just so they could get out of their rooms. We gathered in a circle and talked about life, about what they were afraid of (they were desperately afraid of infecting us) and about what it means to trust God in the midst of such deep uncertainty. As we were talking, mosquitoes descended on us all. We had no idea if mosquitos could be carriers of the disease. Everyone expressed their fears of what was at that time unknown, me included. So, why was I there?

When asked to be part of the team, I knew I needed to pray it through. Not to disregard the science, but to make a decision, whatever it was, based on faith. Is this a place God was calling me to be? If so, how can I be wise and also be faithful in it? Working that through with God was much more difficult than making a knee-jerk reaction in that moment.

And, this is where we are today. We are at the place were we need to continually add grace, to love others with different opinions and at the same time make our decisions by faith. We are also at the place where we need to pray through everything, to take nothing for granted. The good news is that God promises to give us wisdom when we seek him!

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sandy on March 19, 2020 at 1:32 am

    Praying for wisdom and grace……

    Reply

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