When we see the massive level of human suffering and financial need, we can feel overwhelmed. it’s not like we do not have needs ourselves! Yet I know that every time one of our team at ICC puts out a call for involvement to meet a need, we get an overwhelming response–thanks be to God for this congregation!
I read an article by John Stonestreet in the Breakpoint blog that contained a question to ask ourselves during this pandemic:
What is broken that we can restore? Among the brokenness exposed in our culture by this virus is loneliness and social isolation. It’s difficult to imagine a better and easier example of Christians running towards the plague than reaching out to people like this. Relational brokenness, in our families and beyond, is an epidemic far more reaching than COVID -19. As this pandemic continues, we’ll see endless opportunities to help restore broken lives and broken livelihoods.
My parents in their later years lived along the Potomac River just where it enters the Chesapeake Bay. The river is broad and lazy there and is affected by tides. A walk along the river at high tide shows the glimmering water easing its way to the bay. At low tide, that same walk exposes jagged submerged tree branches, a discarded engine block, some broken concrete blocks, an old tin can rusting away.
These items were always there, they were just hidden by the water at high tide.
COVID-19 is akin to a low tide event in our community, our nation, our world. It is exposing the jagged, broken places that were less obvious when times were “normal.” Forced isolation puts great stress on families–but what of those who have no family, or are estranged from family? We are financially stretched–but what of those who were struggling when things were good? And for those who, in past times, were coping with alcohol, drugs, food, or perhaps with pornography or unhealthy relationships–how much more are these being relied on now?
God’s message to the wayward son was to come home to the Father’s house. He welcomes those who are broken. When the prodigal returned, he was expecting a demotion from son to servant. He was received with the embrace of the Father, and a restoration to sonship. (Luke 15)
The message of the gospel is one of restoration–restoring the rebellious and broken to the grace and peace of true fellowship with God. And as the church of Jesus Christ, we proclaim him as the One who is restoring the broken places in our lives by his grace.
What is broken that we can restore? The “low tide” of COVID-19 may be showing us more clearly where the grace and truth of the gospel need to be applied in and around us.
I close with a few more words from John Stonestreet:
I know some of these ideas may seem too simple to be effective. Too easy. But the problem is we often dismiss the good we can do, the missing we can contribute, the evil we can fight, and the brokenness we can restore because of what we can’t do. Let’s not do that.