As we slowly, hesitantly reemerge after weeks of isolation, we are very conscious of the risk of simply living. Of going about our normal routines. Grocery store. Playdates. Church. Appointments. Work.
Today, May 24, I returned to church for the first time since March 11. Ten Sundays. Ten Wednesdays. Twenty services missed. This marks the longest stretch I have ever gone in my entire life (40 years) without going to church. And it took me several weeks to work up the courage to go back today.
For me the fear of returning was not the spread of an invisible virus but of the potential for emotional pain from social distancing in a place where close relationships are the norm and touching often accompanies those priceless relationships.
For various reasons, today was the day I chose to face my fear and risk living. Risk the disease. Risk the emotional pain. Risk.
Living in a Genesis 3 world inevitably involves risk. Even a Genesis 1 world had risk. Risk that Adam and Eve would eat the forbidden fruit.
People are all over the spectrum right now as they assess the risk of various decisions. Decisions that often in the past none of us would have given a second-thought about. My hairdresser told me about the spectrum she has run into these last few weeks as Georgia re-opens. She has the extreme of someone driving out of state to come to her just to get a haircut since their state was still closed to the opposite extreme where a regular client who came in every two weeks for a trim keeps postponing his appointments and has told her that he will bring in his own new clippers for her to use once he does finally show up.
One of my big aversion was restaurants. I couldn’t understand why people would bother risk someone else touching and making their food during a pandemic. (Interestingly, buying donuts was an exception to this logic for me. Go figure.) Meanwhile, one of my cautious friends has enjoyed food from restaurants this entire time. Today I conquered my fear of consuming food from a restaurant. If I was risking going back to church, I might as well risk eating pizza from one of our favorite places that we have often enjoyed after church in the past. (I’m not sure when I will risk actually eating in a restaurant again! We did takeout. Baby steps.)
Life before the pandemic was full of facing risk. We’ve just added another risk to the mix. For me my anticipation for the new heaven and new earth has only grown during this pandemic. If we have repented and believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we have the sure hope that one day we will be truly safe from all harm. Meanwhile, as we struggle to reemerge after isolation, I pray we will have courage to face the risk of simply living resting in the knowledge that God is sovereign and that this world is not our home, we are just passing through.