I have had a difficult few months. It’s like I’m walking through a house while a tornado is roaring around me. Maybe I’m able to duck and miss a flying pillow but when I stand back up, a chair hits me in the face. The bathtub was ripped from the ground so I can’t hide there. And when I finally get to a closet, the door is pulled off its hinges.
I cower in the corner and watch the storm destroy my house, the world I’ve known. Everyone else feels it, too. The wind stings their faces and fear fills their hearts.
Maybe the tornado will take me to Oz. But the splintered wooden floor beneath my feet isn’t changing. I don’t see a yellow brick road. A blanket over my head, eyes screwed shut, I whisper “there’s no place like home” until the storm calms down.
Sometimes life is a gentle breeze laying on a green field with the sun caressing your skin. Sometimes it’s a thunderstorm, hail destroying rose bushes and wind knocking the electricity out. And other times, it’s a tornado, yanking houses from foundations and devastating entire cities.
But no matter what, we are all always searching for fresh air.
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
2 Corinthians 1:9-10
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul thrives in the wind-blast of God’s Spirit and gets on a ship to pursue a new adventure. But his situation seems to get worse and worse, almost like he’s stuck in his own tornado. He gets shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, and belittled, but never loses sight of God and the love of the father. His passionate commitment grounds him regardless of his circumstances. He never loses heart, which is something I think we can learn from.
I could SO easily be angry at God right now. I could grumble and ignore him and run away. I see people feel blasted by life, lost in a tornado and blame God. Their relationship with him suffers due to their circumstances.
Or, maybe you lean more into God during hard times. You rely fully on him. You realize he is all you have.
I’m not angry right now. But I’m also not leaning more into the Lord. I feel like I’m not myself. My body and mind and heart can’t handle anything, including spending ten minutes in prayer every morning.
But then I look at Paul and think the tornado will end. There is still fresh air.
Even if all I see and feel right now is this tornado, that doesn’t mean that’s all there is. In perspective, this is just a moment. In ten years, the house will be rebuilt and the tornado will be a memory.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Fresh air right now may seem hard to come by. It’s like toilet paper, a commodity that people are hoarding. It seems infected with the cough of Covid-19 and panic blinds us to the possibility of a future where fresh air is right outside.
But we do not lose heart.
We refocus our perspective.
We look down and soon, the wood beneath our feet will break away to reveal a bright yellow brick road.
And we’ll breathe fresh air again.