While practicing Social Distancing, I have tried to keep myself busy rather than:
1. Consuming all the news and info I can about this virus and becoming overwhelmed or
2. What my flesh desires: doing absolutely nothing but eat, watch movies, and sleep.
So that means playing with kids, cooking, working on a few projects around the house, and reading. This week I started reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy again, and along with being wrapped up and entertained by the story of The Fellowship of the Ring, I was also met with hope.
Towards the end of Chapter 11, the 4 hobbits are on their way to Rivendell to meet with Gandalf, Elrond who rules there, and others who will join the hobbits on the mission to destroy the ring. While our four friends are hiding in a cave, at least a fourteen days journey ahead of them, and the enemy right outside the cave, Frodo who is carrying the burden of the ring, worries that their supply of food will not last for 2 weeks. Strider, who is leading the group to Rivendell, assures Frodo that they can gather and hunt for food on the way. Then he says something that reminds me of hope during these very uncertain days we’re living in. He says, “But gathering and catching food is weary work, and we need haste. So tighten your belts, and think with hope of the tables of Elrond’s house!”
This virus has caused deaths, panic, conflict, and has given us a very bleak outlook on our future. We can’t gather on Sundays, some aren’t able to work, grandparents can’t hold newborn grandkids, kids are driving their parents crazy at home, Zion Williamson’s season was cut short! But we have hope that with the steps put in place across the world, we will see an end to this virus. When we finally get to worship together again, it’s going to be crazy! Singing, hugging, crying, laughing. I miss everyone so much, when this is all over, the Beards are throwing a party at our house every week! But we know as followers of Christ, children of the King, we can look to a hope beyond even the end of this chaos.
Romans 8:18-25 (one of my favorite passages)
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God's sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility-not willingly, but because of him who subjected it-in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God's children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the first fruits-we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience."
No suffering or joy will come close to comparing to what awaits us after this life. The feasts will make ours look like kids making mud pies. There will be no sin, no pain, no suffering. There will be no more sickness, no more politics, no more depression or loneliness. We will have an unimaginable joy forever because we will be with Jesus forever. So during this time of uncertainty, chaos, heartache, look with hope for days after this when we get to gather together again; when everything is as normal as it can be and when we’ve come to really appreciate and desire community because of all this.
We will continue to look beyond all this to our future hope, our eternal inheritance, because of the work King Jesus has accomplished on the cross. The journey will be a long one, with lots of obstacles and pain. So tighten your belts, and think with hope of the tables of our Father’s house.
Jesse Beard, TCC Elder
March 23, 2020