It's early-May and, in Colorado, life is slowly opening up. Social distancing and face masks won't be going away any time soon though. They are still "the law." And the virus will continue to be the world's unseen foe until a vaccine becomes a reality.
In my socially-distanced conversations with many, I often hear several words.
Last time, I wrote about Alone and Solitude. But what about the word Quarantined?
Personal freedom has defined America since the beginning. Freedom of speech and freedom to gather are in the core of our national identity. We instinctively push against confinement. But for the sake of our health, and the health of others, we are hunkered down and outside life is a grinding halt for many of us. Church is off-limits. Playgrounds and the gym hold unseen dangers. When we finally get to the barber shop or salon, a simple, desperately desired haircut will be "managed" from beginning to end.
We are quarantined and separated from the people, places and things that have defined our daily lives. We are submitted to our leaders, governmental and ecclesial, who say, "This is important." But like a child in the midst of a temper tantrum, many of us may be "sitting down on the outside but standing up on the inside." (We even see some who refuse to "sit down" altogether.)
Surrender and submission are two words that sit at odds to the ideology of personal freedom. Our faith in God, however, is modeled after the One who surrendered all.
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt 6:39)
Jesus surrendered his life and his death because God's will was his highest priority. Jesus trusted the Father's wisdom and plan for our salvation. It had to be this way. However, I often hear people say that they can trust God, but they can't trust people. I get it. People can wound and deal cruelly. Still, the Word is filled with instructions to submit to others.
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1Pet 2:13-17
Even though submitting goes against the grain, we are called to do it. Peter tells us to submit to human authorities and to submit to God. "For how long?", we ask. Understandable question. But maybe, the wrong question. Instead, "Lord, will you help me to surrender to you as a way of life?" Even when the waiting is long, we can trust the Father, like Jesus, in our life and our death.