What I believed was going to be our usual Christmas trip to the movies, turned into a lesson I would never forget.
The whole world was anticipating that moment they sat down to watch the final Star Wars movie, and we were no exception. We arrived early and picked our seats right in the center of the theater. As the minutes passed, we watched as families and couples and friends filled the empty seats, until it was just minutes ’til showtime. The only seats that were left at this point were up front, close to the screen, when a unique couple entered. She was in a wheelchair, and all the handicap accessible seats were taken. The only choice for this couple was to have her find her place in one of the wheelchair spaces while her husband sat elsewhere in the theater, apart from one another.
My heart broke as I watched their excitement fade, realizing they would not be allowed to enjoy this movie together, as it should be.
“Please, someone in those seats, get up and offer them your space! Please, God, lead someone to give up their seat for this couple.” I prayed as tears filled my eyes.
Just as I finished praying that prayer, a woman and her daughter offered them their seat and moved down front.
I was so moved by their sacrifice that tears flooded my eyes. And today, they have become my example as to how to navigate this time in history.
A time that is marked by the word “unprecedented”. Unprecedented measures taken. Unprecedented loss. Unprecedented scarcity. Unprecedented behavior. Unprecedented fear.
Strangely enough, it wasn’t another tyrannical nation after our resources or wealth that brought on this unprecedented state. It is a microscopic, invisible to the naked eye, virus. The enemy can’t even be seen. Doesn’t that sound familiar?
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
The truth is, we are not only at war with a virus. We are in a battle for hearts, minds, and souls. We are in a battle against the emotions that drive us to act selfishly or lash out in anger and frustration. We are in a battle for our thoughts, whether to put our trust in the Almighty God of the Heavenly Armies or to allow fear to drag us into sin and ruin. We are in a battle for the hearts of men. Will the government, its regulations and promises to protect us all, be our savior, or the medical community with their flimsy hope in man made cures and remedies and machinery, or our own false sense of security in our own efforts for preparation and protection.
The truth is, the government can’t guarantee protection, no matter how many regulations they place on your life. The medical community, even with all their technology and knowledge, can’t save every single person, and no matter how much toilet paper and hand sanitizer you buy, it won’t protect you from the enemy that is out to steal your peace.
As Christians, will we be pointing the world to a God that provides all that we need, protects us against an unseen enemy, and gives us freedom no matter what our earthly circumstances look like, so that we might not live in fear of a virus, government tyranny, or even death?
There is a unique opportunity for us as Christians right now. We are surrounded by this couple from the theater in all different forms needing the kindness of just one person: the rancher that is losing all his profits because the cost of beef has dropped, the employees laid off by oil companies, the business owners that have closed their doors and are making zero money right now, the non-essential services that are losing clients. All of them are facing an uncertain future.
Earlier this week, we made our usual trip to the store to buy our groceries and in the middle of that store, I held a sobbing stranger. (I know, social distancing, but when someone is hurting, and they reach out to me, I am going to comfort them). Her grandson has special needs, and his mother can’t find his essential foods. As a mother, that is heart wrenching, not to mention my worst nightmare.
It’s hard for us to imagine that this is the current state of the U.S., but it is. We are bleeding out and no one can stop the hemorrhaging.
Fear abounds. I personally have experienced bouts of rage, depression, frustration, and fear throughout this last week.
However, today, I choose to remember that mother and daughter that gave up their seat at the theater and the example they set for all of us. If we are able, maybe we can give up our seat for the handicapped and carry each other through this time.
The Bible commands us,
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27
I want to use the word “unprecedented” in a new and powerful way. What we have is an unprecedented opportunity to live out the Gospel!
I want to have unprecedented boldness and show unprecedented love, sacrifice unprecedentedly, give to one another unprecedentedly, trust God unprecedentedly, find unprecedented freedom in Jesus, learn to give unprecedented praise and thanksgiving, connect to one another, unprecedentedly!!!
The world is watching us, and if we follow His leading and behave unprecedentedly , we will see an unprecedented movement of Holy Spirit across this land.
Remember the sweetest smell, the most growth, and the promises in the form of a rainbow, come after the rain.
Lord, may we look for opportunities to do good and to carry one another through this dark night. Let us not miss even one opportunity to sacrifice for another in Your Name. Your blessings overflow in our lives, so let us pour those out to those that need your hope. Holy Spirit, blow across this land like a mighty wind, touching the hearts and the minds of our people and turn them to You.
Jesus, we eagerly await your return and beg that you give us strength to endure without disgracing Your Name, but rather glorifying You in all we do, loving one another in spirit and in truth. Amen.