The past few months have been pretty taxing on all of us: navigating life during a pandemic, a major election cycle with contentious campaigning on all fronts, social isolation and fear. It just hasn’t been fun! But God has been good and has brought some beauty from all these ashes. I think we have remembered what truly matters in life. I think we have learned the value of being still and waiting. I hope we have learned the importance of letting those you care about know how you feel!
I have had some good, intellectual debate with an old friend recently about a number of things, but one thing we can agree on is that the effects of this pandemic and this election have unfortunately highlighted each of our weaknesses, individually and collectively. In addition to showing our strength and fortitude in the past eight months, we have shown our ugly. And it has been really, really ugly! I haven’t blogged in months because in a season of lack, one thing we have had plenty of is words and it makes my mind feel tired. My husband likes to say, and excuse the vulgarity here, “Opinions are like buttholes…everybody has one.” (He usually adds, “And yours stinks!” but that takes it too far for my purposes here! You gotta laugh, right?!) Everywhere you look lately there is an opinion about this or that. There is someone ridiculing others for wearing masks, others chastising folks for not wearing them. There are people who are name calling for voting a certain way, and others spewing venomous generalizations for voting another.
And guess what? They are all just opinions. I have had a really hard time finding facts in the past several months. When I have needed facts and data more than ever, they have been really hard to find! My usual sources are full of words that carry no backing or weight because no one has the exact right answers right now. There are some good guesses and some preliminary guidance…..
Lots of words, no solid ground.
So, here I am writing because I hope that instead of adding to the ever growing rhetoric and opinion pieces that are readily available to anyone willing to ingest them, I can offer you some things that I know with absolute certainty and some advice to get you through the next few months.
- Nothing that is happening around the world or in the United States is outside of God’s control.
- In light of eternity, nothing that we fret about on social media really matters, does it? The hope of eternity helps keep things in perspective. The promise of Jesus can help you stay focused on what really matters while the rest just fades away. It offers a calming peace in the middle of all life’s storms.
- God can use ANYBODY for his purposes. Paul was on a mission to kill as many Christians as possible (and did kill and imprison many) before God stopped him in his tracks; after that, he spread the Gospel of Jesus like wildfire! He is responsible for writing most of the New Testament that we read and share today. (Need more examples? Consider this: Matthew was a hated tax collector, Noah was drunk, Gideon was scared, Moses stuttered. The list could go on and on and on of the unlikely and sinful and morally corrupt and “unfit” people God used for His purposes. That doesn’t even count any modern day sinners He has used!)
- There are things worse than dying IF you know where you are going when you die. And God determines the day you go home, nobody else. As a doctor, it took me a long time to realize this, but I have zero control over the number of your days here on earth. I can only help you improve the quality of the ones you have.
- It costs you absolutely nothing to be kind and respectful. Nothing. You have no idea what someone else has been through or the road they have walked to get them where they are today. You have no idea what the girl at the check out counter had to deal with before she left home this morning; you have no idea the circumstances in your neighbor’s life that lead them to vote differently than you do. But with kindness and respect, you may find out and find a new compassion or empathy for others.
- Do you deserve God’s grace and kindness? I didn’t think so. Neither do I. But He gives it to all of us—to Donald, to Hilary, to Joe, to Kamala. Because we are ALL created in His image, and He loves us ALL equally. If someone is good enough for God, who are you to write them off as unworthy?
- If you claim to be a Christian, then your words and your life should reflect the Lord you love and serve. We are all going to fail at perfection; we are all going to mess up and make mistakes; we are all going to stumble and fall. We are going to hurt each other from time to time, and we will need to ask forgiveness from God and from others. It’s OK. Pick yourself up, think about what you are saying/typing, and make sure that you are doing your best to be a reflection of Christ.
- When in doubt (or in anger, or in sadness, or in frustration), choose love. It is always, always the right choice. Love doesn’t have to agree, but it does have to show kindness and respect.
I will close with this. The Bible tells us clearly to honor our leaders. We don’t have to agree with them, but we are called to respect them. Pray for them, for whether you like it or not, God has chosen them for this season. He can use them in ways you cannot imagine. He can use YOU in ways you cannot imagine. So, do you trust God to work this season of life, pandemic and all, for the good of those of us who love Him? Can you put your mouth where your faith is? Or your faith where your mouth is? Can you uplift, encourage, and love others, ALL others? Because God doesn’t pick and choose, and neither should we. Let your light shine brightly so everyone can see the way to Him! God bless America, and God bless you!
-In His Love,
Dr. Allison K. Key