For me, one of the strangest and most difficult parts of the Coronavirus experience we are living through has to do with time.
I was surprised last week when I calculated that we haven’t met in our sanctuary for Sunday worship for 8 weeks. I could not have told you whether it was 6 or 16 – it has felt like both. For some people, it has seemed like a brief time so far; for others it has been an eternity.
Which has led me to ponder (as maybe you have, too), what if this were to stretch on, as some have guessed, until January? Unthinkable. Or, unthinkable? (Note, gentle reader, this is not an announcement.)
Coronavirus aside for the moment, can you close your eyes and imagine Jesus fasting and praying alone in the wilderness for 40 days? Or the 444 days the American hostages were held in Iran? Or the 116 years Britain and France fought in the “Hundred Years War”? Or the 400 years of relative silence from God stretching out like a vast desert basin between Malachi and Matthew?
It seems like our experience with time has been conditioned by the sitcoms on our TVs and the skill-levels on our video games. We expect things to develop quickly as we move from episode to episode in our lives, including our relationship with God. But consider that years and years would go by between some prophets hearing a single word from God, while all along God was patiently guiding history.
It reminds me of how an airline pilot described his job: hours and hours of complete tedium, punctuated by seconds of sheer terror.
The boy who would become King David watched the same sheep graze on the same hillsides for countless days until that one partly-cloudy Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?) that word came from his father: Hey, you’d better get home. (1 Samuel 16:11)
Bob Jacobs is Pastor of Westminster Church, Rapid City. Check out his personal blog at www.brittlecrazyglass.wordpress.com.