Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
Really? Is that the title I'm going to lead with, in light of the current state of our country and world?
Yes, as a matter of fact, it is.
In an effort to be more consistent with my blogging there have been some much-needed deadlines imposed on me. I have a deadline for the blog itself and another earlier in the week for a title and verse, which allows my social media specialist to get the graphics together.
This is fantastic for accountability’s sake and giving those around me time to do their jobs, but much more challenging as far as me having formulated what I want to write about. I’d much prefer to write something and then decide how to title it. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
It turns out, as always, God’s divine hand is once again stretching me in this new season of life.
I honestly chuckled sarcastically a little inside as I typed that last sentence thinking, “Sure he’s stretching me again and in the same two areas as always: trust and control. Am I ever gonna learn these?”
It’s actually not so bad. I have learned to trust God more in recent years and to give up my illusions of control. It’s just in this new season he is taking me even deeper.
It’s subtle, yet so profound to experience how the simple task of titling a blog and choosing a Bible verse can reveal so much about my level of trust with God and my need to control things.
So there I was last week, praying and asking God for a blog title and Bible verse for this week. This was well before church services moved online, before bars and restaurants were closed, and before I was required to work from home. The prayer last week was simple, “Lord what do you want to say?”
The answer… “Nothing’s changed.”
As I thought about the title, my mind ran through the list of verses I knew confirmed this thought and I landed on the one above from Hebrews. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (13:8, NIV).
Indeed, Jesus has not changed but take a look around. In the course of one week, everything has changed in the wake of the COVID-19 threat. Why did he prompt me with this title and remind me of this verse?
First, as a reminder, God knows EVERYTHING. He is not one bit surprised or caught off guard by the COVID-19 virus. He sees all, he knows all, and regardless of what we may think at times, he is in control of all. In that sense, nothing’s changed.
Second, in the wake of this week’s changes in our world, mankind is fearful and anxious. My goodness, why else would rational human beings hoard toilet paper of all things! This fear, which so easily plagues us during times of the unknown, is not new. In that sense, nothing’s changed.
Third, compassion, grace, and love are still thriving even in the most confusing of times. Look around. As a society, we have chosen to quarantine and make our lives inconvenient to protect the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Yes, some are irritated by recent events, but by and large, most people are looking for ways to love others well through it. Love wins, and in that sense, nothing’s changed.
Am I being a little optimistic or overly sentimental in the light of all the chaos? Perhaps, but there is one thing I know without a doubt. God does not and cannot lie. If this is true, and I believe it is, then Hebrews 13:8 should change the way we enter into this chaos.
If Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever, then he can be trusted to be faithful to us this week in the midst of COVID-19 as he was for us after 9-11 and the way he will be for us in the wake of an unknown future.
Because Jesus has not changed he can be trusted.
For Your Reflection…
It’s hard not to be anxious about all that is happening in our world today. Know that Jesus is not mad if you’re fearful. He welcomes your questions and your fears, so talk to him about how you’re feeling about COVID-19, the stock market, or anything else that may be inciting worry. He is listening.
Will you call out to him?