by Jon Reeverts
This has not been a one-size-fits-all pandemic.
My conversations with those around me vary from absolute frustration with things being blown out of proportion, to a willingness to bend with the times, to fear compatible with what New York City has rolled out as patient after patient has succumbed to this virus.
What does everyone have in common through this?
GRIEF - Everyone has experienced some level of grief.
See if this diagram represents any of what you have experienced. Elizabeth Kubler Ross has been regarded as the foremost authority on grief. Her "change curve" (See below) addresses significant steps in processing what we have been through.
Perhaps it’s over a job loss, a relationship that is on the rocks more than ever through this pandemic, or over the death of a friend or relative, over stress-related changes that have had to be implemented, even the anger over losing sports-seasons OR the prospect of things never going back to what they were.
My friend, Jerrod (Read to the End), shared it this way:
But to You I have cried out, O LORD,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
For years, I have had my Leadership class read a little book entitled,
“Who Moved My Cheese?” It’s a simple story, probably take you an hour to read it. And, it has lots of pictures for those of you who don’t like to read - even large print! However, it deals with our very real reaction to change and the choices we have in addressing it.
No one likes change, except infants - you need to go through those diapers!!
The rest of us … we’re probably a lot like the characters in the book.
Here’s what is important - we have the choice to be real about our struggles. We can mill around in our mess for a long time, and we can even minimize, deflect or deny what we are honestly struggling with. But, when we get real and ask ourselves, “What’s really bothering me?”, then we begin to sift through the stuff that is just smoke and mirrors. On the other side can be a sort of freedom. This little book may offer a glimpse - true freedom is all about our God.
I’m in ministry; experiencing real freedom is available but rare. (See Matthew 7:13-14)
I know of others in ministry, who are trying to minister out of a place of scarcity. You can’t give what you don’t have, or what you have never experienced. IF we have never experienced our co-crucifixion with Christ or have lost all sense of what that meant, we have lost touch with the Life of Jesus Christ expressed in
“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
If all we have experienced is success through our Christian walk, we have nothing to share with those who have struggled. There is no overflow of the heart - we will have fallen into the space of trying to reach others out of our own fickle self-worth, confidence, disciplines or doctrines - all ineffective ways to reach out.
But the one who has experienced the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, comes to KNOW Him - and everything that Christ IS resides in a vibrant way inside that person; it presides with spiritual authority - not self-prescribed, claimed, or pompous revelations.
Mind you, spiritual authority does not always look pretty, successful or inviting: See John the Baptist, Jonah, and Jesus and a long list of others. In America, we try to dress it up in empowering ourselves and leading others “near” to what only we(?) can deliver - Hogwash!
The gospel is made available to all - it invites us all to experience the fullness of Life In Christ.
Paul’s letters declare what it means to live in Christ over 200 times.
It often looks like a battle, a challenge, a struggle or… brace yourselves… grief. Here’s the kicker, though, victory in Christ is certain.
… in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you are going through the phases that Kubler Ross identified - that’s okay - I’m certain those same stages could be identified in David’s Psalms. Grieving is Biblical - but it doesn’t change the fact that for the believer and receiver of Jesus Christ, HE is Enough!
Philippians 4:19 (ESV)
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
I invite you to listen to my friend and former student Jerrod Griebel share insights into this. He has traveled the world, served in the military, in ministry/missions, and done so in multiple languages. As you will hear, he is also an accomplished musician. He currently is disguised as a simple English teacher, just trying to make a living on the front range of Colorado, but his closest friends, me included, would describe him as a beautiful and honest believer in Jesus Christ!
NOTE: Elizabeth Kubler Ross Change Curve