Pillars are shaking! Can you feel it? The cracks of “current affairs” have widened into canyons. There's quite a bit of turbulence in the world outside your door. In moments like this, wisdom reminds us to cling to what’s firm and true, but we inadvertently scramble for unstable footholds when the ground begins to quake. Consider the troublesome chapter we’ve been written into. Like it or not, we’re all characters on the pages of this “pandemic story". We tend to perceive our world through the lens of a microscope, staying in our lane and biding our time until “normalcy” can recommence. We recognize what tremors around us, but prop up the minor supports that can't bear any weight. Only one pillar will stand through this (and every) storm. It’s frustrating these days to seek satisfaction while we shake our fists at the winds that rattle our “quality of life.” This might be a good time to inspect the structural integrity of your life.
I assume that most Christians can appreciate the value of a solid faith foundation. Fewer, however, are likely to prioritize a routine inspection of their framework. Have you played the game of Jenga? Players remove blocks from a vertically stacked column, considering it a victory every time the structure remains standing. Rarely does anyone acknowledge the superfluous block that was eliminated, unless its removal spells disaster. Now, before you get ahead of me, I’m not proposing that you blindly go about scrapping “pieces” of your life, but I do advocate that NOW is the perfect time to rearrange them. There's only one configuration that will survive life's adversity. Certain “blocks” in your structure shouldn't be where they are. Too much faith in the wrong support and your tower will fall.
Examine the pillars that shake today- many of which likely seemed sturdy until now. Perhaps you’ve suffered a pay cut, furlough, or job loss. Perhaps you’ve shut down a business, for the interim, or even forever. It's likely that you’ve cancelled your summer vacation and crossed a mess of exciting days off your calendar already. Perhaps your health (or that of someone you know) has suffered, declined, even failed. We’re all separated from our families, detached from our congregations, and isolated from most elements of fellowship we regard as “normal.” Life right now exists behind protective masks and plastic barriers. There’s a crucial truth being called to light in the midst of this… None of these pillars are steadfast, and all of them can fail. Your career, position and salary can crack. Your possessions, adventures, and social standing can deteriorate. Your friends, families and fellowships can splinter. None should secure a place above that which is eternal.
Time feels a bit more accessible these days, doesn’t it? So, we treat it like it’s a bit more disposable. We furrow our brows at these “wasted weeks.” We vocalize our displeasure at the months "we’ll never get back,” but what's it worth to picket and complain? Why stand idly by when you could be making adjustments? Sure up the groundwork of your life. Don't notice the tremors yet? You will! Do your spirit a service by asking one compelling question... What is your first love?
You, child of God, were called, above all, to love your Father in heaven. Anything less leaves the foundation at a disadvantage. It equates to "wrong blocks in the wrong places." When we put faith in their integrity, the structure will teeter hopelessly. This is likely the root of why so many feel “robbed” right now. Our greatest sources of joy, strength, and passion have proven unable to support us. I can’t help but wonder how our attitudes might be bolstered if we pursued our first love again. For the Christian, there's an ever-present risk of succumbing to the mindset that we're satisfactory where we're stand. The church in Ephesus paints a similar picture. At the revelation, Christ applauds their heartfelt dedication to the truth, and yet, He condemns their lost devotion to the love of the Lord. Is that where you want to be? “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” Rev 2: 4
I fear the aftermath of this pandemic, but not so much the shock to our health, the economy or even our psyche. I fear the impact this will have on our witness and spiritual fervor. Studies conclude that church “attendance” has skyrocketed to new heights in the wake of this virus. It’s a fascinating reason to rejoice, but I wonder, who will be found in the pews when the sanctuary doors are opened again? Prayer is also on the rise during these unstable times, as we grasp for some supernatural hope, but how many hearts will seek the Lord once they’re given back their preferred comforts? Life, my friends, has no backbone (no structure) without Christ (Cornerstone) as your FIRST LOVE.
What is it that you “prize?” Tangible or otherwise? Is it a toy? A trinket? A family heirloom? Is it a vehicle? A house? A fancy collection? Do you prize your achievements? Your status? Acknowledgements and accolades? When something means everything, we’ll stop at nothing to preserve it, and when that something begins to crumble, we scramble to patch the cracks. No one is immune. Even followers of Christ can foolishly brace the wrong pillars. “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3: 18
Your love of God must be earnest for it to be effective. Sincerity is the key to our spiritual confidence and contentment. Don’t claim the name of Christ as a central to your "structure" if that’s not where He truly lies. God examines the heart. “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matt 24: 12-13
We’re desperate right now for a glimmer of hope. We scroll through social media for amusing videos, handy “life-hacks” and inspirational happenings- anything that warrants a second look. We long to be entertained, to feel purposeful; to clasp some sense of validation. We’re hungry for structure as the world shakes. I don’t know the status of your spirit in these trying times, but I pray that you prioritize it. Use this juncture to rediscover the source of your deepest affections, Jesus Christ- Savior- Lover of your soul. Utilize these moments to seek spiritual revelation. There’s no better time than now to kneel at the throne, reclaim your first love, and celebrate your awakening. Embrace a pillar that will never fail.