This is part one of a three- part series. (February 2022)
How do you move forward into a place and time you’ve never been before? I’m guessing many of us feel this way. We think: What the heck just happened? How did we go from a known world where people interact freely face to face and generally understand how they are supposed to act, to a world of isolation which feels increasingly technology and emotion driven? Are we all just cogs in the wheels of the world machine which chugs forward regardless of who it is running over? None of us has ever lived through a world-wide plague in an age when technology rapidly distributes people’s every thought and emotion and conspiracy theory no matter how outrageous or inaccurate. And right after I wrote these words, Russia went and attacked Ukraine sending WW2-type shivers down our collective spines. What are we supposed to do with all this?
How do you move forward from unexpected death and tragedy? In the last nine years I have lost six family members and almost all were sudden and unexpected. How do you manage when your beautiful boy becomes ravaged by a serious genetic brain disorder and turns into someone you hardly recognize and then dies from it? When I was raising my son I never thought in a million years that this would happen to him and to our family.
Come to think of it, how did Moses handle suddenly encountering a God about whom he’d only heard stories? For 400 years no one had even heard from God. How did he perceive such a strong word as “bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt” and actually follow through? No one had ever done this or even thought of doing it and certainly no one had the audacity to follow through with such an outrageous intent. This was completely new, no one had ever been in this situation.
What about David? How outlandish it must have appeared to him and definitely to his father and brothers when Samuel appeared and proclaimed him the future king. He had no royal lineage, no aristocratic role models to know what this even meant. And it took 15 years for this proclamation to become reality, years full of persecution and suffering. Once he became king, he continued to face many troubles.
Similarly when Jesus walked the earth saying shocking things like “eat my flesh” and “before Moses was, I am” his followers, as intrigued as they were, had no idea what he was talking about. His death could not possibly be seen by them as anything but tragic. Not having begun to recover from that, they were thrown another curveball when people started to report seeing him. Then he leaves them saying they will go all over the world with his message. Clearly they had never done this before. In an interesting parallel to Moses, no one had heard from God for 400 years at that time either. And then He sends this crazy guy to turn their world upside down and they are left wondering: What’s next? They had never established a church. They didn’t even know what it was. They didn’t even know that’s what they were to do. They were Jewish after all.
So, here we are with no road map and no crystal ball. We are entering new territory and no one can accurately predict what comes next. I don’t have answers, just ponderings and my experience of surviving being completely blindsided by tragedy. I and all of my family are in the process of stepping into a new normal. In my next post I will share more about how it has been and what has helped us walk forward.