Devotionals During the COVID-19 Crisis: Lesson 7

Wednesday March 25, 2020

18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (NRSV)

When I was 15 years old, God showed me in a profound way that my life had meaning and that I had a purpose.

I went with a friend’s youth group to a beach retreat that spanned a full weekend in the summer of 2007. It was an exciting thing for me because I had only been to the beach once before, and they were going to be camping near the beach in tents. On that saturday, we packed our beach gear and headed to the shore.

Our charismatic leader made it easy for all of us to have a lot of fun that day, but one thing that I didn’t know about before that day was how to swim if you get caught in a riptide. As my friend and I were out in the water, we started to notice the water looking rough near the jetty, and we saw two people about our age by the jetty who looked scared. We called out to ask if they needed help, and when they said yes, we swam over and attempted to get them to safety.

But I didn’t know how to swim in a riptide…I was able to pull one of the them away from the jetty, but I quickly got swept up in the riptide myself as I lost my grip. I remember trying to swim straight towards shore, but every time I made a little progress, it was instantly taken away as I got pulled back in the other direction.

Eventually, as I continued to gasp for air and got some saltwater in return, I looked up to the sky, thinking I was going to drown, and told God that I was ready to Go – that God could take me then (A bit dramatic, I admit, but when you are 15 years old, thats par for the course). Immediately after that, and I can’t stress that enough, I was actually able to swim to shore when I had not been able to do so previously. I walked on shore with only a few scratches on my ankle, and a story that would define my life from that point on.

When I was on the boardwalk that night, I bought a cross necklace that I still wear today to always remind me of that instance when God told me that my life had a meaning and a purpose. After that day, the faith that I always knew and believed in became real and tangible, and I was committed to following Christ in a whole new way.

But to other people, that story could be explained by coincidence – the riptide could have just happened to stop immediately after my prayer. Likewise, as we are all struggling with what this COVID-19 crisis will mean for the health and finances of ourselves, our families and friends, and nation, some may say that believing in God is foolish optimism.

This faith seems especially foolish if that belief includes believing that our God died on a torture device at the hands of a human government over 2000 years ago. For if you or I were going to make up a religion, a God who suffered and died is not a logically good start.

But I believe that it is precisely that reason why Christianity is relevant for us today – Jesus came to earth, lived a life of righteousness, performed miracles, and healed and defended the lowest members of society, and STILL died on a cross and rose again in order to show us that sin can be forgiven and that an earthly death is not the end of our core existence.

Christianity provides the world with a God who understands the suffering and pain that we go through in the most empathetic way, and it also shows the world that there is HOPE beyond what is right in front of us.

Pray to the Lord today for help and guidance; knowing that God understands you at your weakest moment, and has cleared the path before you, through the cross, that leads to Hope and Peace.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:

“What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

– C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

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