As I write this, the world is experiencing the Coronavirus pandemic, and there is much anxiety among people about their health, their livelihoods, and the impact this situation will have on their loved ones, all of which is both understandable and with merit. In the current environment, it is commonplace for people to talk euphemistically about “the Plague,” and while the Coronavirus is indeed serious, it is not as deadly as plagues that humanity has faced in the past. Nevertheless, the euphemism does point to the truth that something so small as to be invisible to the naked eye has the power to upend—and even end—our lives. At the same time, for us as Christians we need to also remember a second truth: we worship a God who transcends this power. We worship Christ Jesus, through whom all things were made, who though eternal took on human flesh, and who, after being tortured and brutally murdered, rose from the dead and triumphed over death. Just as those Israelites who were being afflicted in the Wilderness lifted their heads up and looked upon the bronze serpent God provided and were healed (Num. 21:6-9), so too we must lift up our heads and look upon Him who has been provided for our healing (John 3:14-15). Although it is not clear at this moment exactly how God is working through this pandemic, we should remember and be assured that He is working in it and through it, to sanctify us, to enable us to minister to others, and ultimately to glorify Himself.
As Christians, we along with our neighbors are practicing social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, which is curbing our ability to meet together as the Body of Christ and compelling us to rely more on online connections. As such, and to help us lift our eyes to our Lord, I invite you to join me in meditating on Exodus chs. 1-15 for the next three weeks until Resurrection Sunday (April 12). The Exodus is particularly apropos in this season in which we prepare to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. The events surrounding the Lord’s Passion took place in the runup to the Passover, the annual Jewish commemoration of how God “passed over” His people as He brought judgment upon the Egyptians leading to the Exodus. The Exodus was the central salvation event of the Old Testament, just as the Resurrection is the central salvation event of the New Testament. Even before the Coronavirus pandemic broke out, I had planned the Old Testament readings in this season of Desertide to focus on the Exodus. My hope over the next three weeks in reflecting on these chapters is to see the greatness of God and the salvation of God in the midst of the suffering of His people. I welcome you to join me in this meditation.
S. J. Hatch