Meet me in the middle…

2020 has been an incredible year. I think anyone will agree that we’ve all been faced with incredible challenges, shifting landscapes, and learning to cope with entirely new things in every aspect of our life with little to no preparedness.

We’ve seen schools close and move to ‘crisis learning.’ We’ve seen businesses close their home office doors and shift employees to a remote-only option, if not close all together. We’ve seen changes in online sales and shopping. We’ve seen the way we behave with others change – social distancing, defiance against social distancing, increased care for the elderly and hi-risk categories, more concern for self and protection of our families, more reliance on Jesus, less reliance on Jesus, churches closing or churches staying open and forgoing precautions for any number of reasons. Whatever the case has been or where you have fallen in this spectrum politically, spiritually, educationally, mentally, physically, or whatever, we can all agree it’s been an incredible shift.

For me personally, I’ve done my best to respect the laws and recommendation of local government, which seemed easy to me because I believe laws are there to protect us and that laws are to be followed. One of the things I’ve committed to doing more of is spending time in God’s Word. This morning I was reading Matthew 22 and specifically focused around verses 15-22. In a time where I hate paying school loans or paying bills, scripture reminds me: “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (verse 21) I believe this to mean that we are to follow man’s law as it is laid out – until that interferes with God’s law, and then we are to follow God’s law. We may not agree with man’s law, but as long as it does not contradict God’s law, should we not follow it?

I’ve heard many talk about taking temperatures as a way to prepare us for things like the Mark of the Beast. How the COVID vaccine is inserting chips into us or RFID scanners or inserting sterilization hormones into our body to prevent us from having children later. I don’t know what’s true about the vaccine, but I do know that the Mark of the Beast is something that will be forced upon everyone – after the rapture, if I am reading this correctly. (Pastors, help me out here!) But I also know that pointing things at our heads and right hands is a way of de-sensitizing us towards having these areas scanned. Revelations 13:16 talks about the mark saying: “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.” For this, I have taught my kids not to be scanned on their forehead or right wrists. It is unnatural to have an object shaped like a gun, pointed at your head. Be careful where we let this go, parents. Be careful of what we allow our children to be exposed to. While it is man’s law, and we must follow this, should we not also be aware of what is happening around us? We cannot oppose our temperatures to be taken, just as we cannot oppose being blocked on airlines if we refuse the vaccine. But, we can find ways around it, for now. We can choose different companies to do business with, or we can make a sacrifice to know that we may not be able to enter a place of business if we elect not to comply. It is a choice.

2020 has given me so much to think about. This time, confined at home, has sought to teach me things about myself. Being away from church has been difficult. I have not honored the time to watch services online, but I have found ways to stay plugged into Scripture. I have craved hearing about God during this time and found people I love listening to and podcasts I love plugging into. I have found apps I love, ways to be encouraged, and friends that I can reach out to for prayer. I have found ways to be accountable, to hold others accountable, and ways which worked best for me. I have fallen a million times on things like my diet (and gained every stinking pound back), I have heard my tongue be sharp, I have neglected my marriage, and I have yelled at my children more times than I care to admit. I have asked for forgiveness, cried over sharp words, begged God for forgiveness and prayed long and hard to soften me or those around me.

Politics and a pandemic have changed us. Some for the better, some for…well, not so great. But, it’s never too late to recognize our mistakes and pick up and ask for help. You just need to open your mouth and speak. To God, to a friend, to a spouse, whoever is close by. God meets you there. Right where you are.

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