I trust I am not alone in finding that the current challenges facing me in this Covid crisis and all the consequences is more than a little unsettling. I try to stay on top of information, read wisely, listen to all the analysis, get completely freaked out, hide my head in the sand, come up for air and find that I repeat the cycle and, with each turn, it seems to be more dire, there is more frustration, more hopelessness and feeling completely out of control.
This has really laid bare what I really trust in. What is the bedrock of my life? What is the firm foundation that holds me during this “we are all in the same storm but in our own boat” situation? I am over all the pithy feel good lines that are meant to make me feel positive. I need something much more I’m afraid.
I’m a follower of Jesus. Have been for well over 30 years. To get a grip I have been forced to ask hard questions again; is God real, is God good, is He trustworthy, why would He bother with me?
I have found that I needed to go back to the beginning. The beginning of everything and work my way back from there to make sense of today because today does not hang there on its own. It too has come from somewhere.
The world today is quite convinced that there is no God and that to believe in God is delusional. The world also believes that truth is not a thing anymore and that we make up our own truth, and no one can tell another what truth is. If you do ‘you are touching me on my studio’, and I am free to call you all kinds of names and label you as ….
I am a citizen here and have grown up in this world and have imbibed much of its thinking without really analysing and really choosing if it is true and thus if I should build my life on this. Crises like the one we face now exposes me and my philosophy of life.
So, I went back to the beginning, Genesis 1:1. I’ve gone back to be a student of God’s word and testing it to establish Truth, and then building from there.
Genesis 1:1 starts by declaring that “In the beginning…” Now that’s interesting. It was not until quite recent in the early 19th century that science discovered that indeed the universe as we know it has a beginning. The verse goes on to say that “God created the heavens and the earth”. The word created here is the Hebrew word ‘Bara’ which is only used 5 times right here in Genesis 1. The word means created out of nothing. The Latin is Ex Nihilo. Now nothing means… really nothing. There was no thing before this. It was a grand fiat by God who created all things out of nothing where there was nothing before, and so for the first time we have space, time, and matter. It’s hard to imagine that before that there was no space, time, nor matter. The second time Bara is used is the creation of living creatures in verse 22 and then used three times in succession in verse 27. In 27 it is in reference to the creation of man and woman. What is also huge to notice is that up until then the pattern in communicating this creation process it is recorded that “God said … let there be… and it was … he said it was good … and it was evening and morning the next day.” That is up until verse 26 where it all changes, and suddenly one reads, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.’” In verse 27 we have the trinity of the word Bara, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them”.
Verse 26 and 27 is breath-taking in the sweep of what it declares to our modern world that is so lost and so confused about everything. So here is my takeaway today. If I am here today in this world just as a matter of time plus chance, then I, and everyone else, have no intrinsic value. But if I am created, specially, out of nothing, not just “Let there be” but “let us make man in our image and likeness,” then I am not a product of time plus chance. I have intrinsic value placed on me by the God who created all things. Because I am created in His image and likeness, I can relate to this personal God who is Love and have meaning and value. I am not a chance mistake. I am not in a godless world with no absolutes and no universal reference points. I am finite but also significant. I am not nothing. Jumping way ahead this is conclusively spelled out in God coming into human history during a time and place real event, took on human life, lived, stood in the gap and was punished for our sin on the cross, and having paid the debt of my sin, conquered death, rose from the dead, just because He loves me. This is the same God who said, “Let there be.” The Creator of the universe, and He loves me.
That’s a great beginning. The rest of the week still to come. So, ask yourself, is this your God? If He is, then go to Him and talk with Him about your troubles. It’s the most remarkable thing that when I go to meet with God in prayer, I go to where He is, outside space and time, to the One who spoke all creation into being, and I get to sit before Him and look to Him. As I do that, considering this awesome God, then “The things of the earth grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
Chat more tomorrow.