This past Sunday morning, I woke up to an early morning FaceTime from my brother. I was pretty sure what he was calling about. As I clicked on my FaceTime, there she was. My newest (and 4th) niece, Ella Diane.
My wife and I love being “Uncle Kris” and “Aunt Kendall” (or Aunt KK as she is called by one). I have even been dubbed “Uncle Tweety” by our oldest niece (my wife’s sister’s oldest).
We love all four of these little girls. We pray often that they will grow up to be Godly women of faith full of life and joy and a passion for Jesus.
And Sunday morning, we found out baby Ella had finally arrived. My brother and his wife were doing well, and I couldn’t help but notice the beam in their eyes and the brightness of their smiles as they held her.
Instantly, we, too, fell in love with baby Ella, and talked to her so she would hear our voices. We can’t wait to meet her face-to-face and hold her and hug her.
In the midst of our current world craziness, this moment reminded me that there is life.
In John chapter 10 verse 10, Jesus says:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Here, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees following the healing of the man born blind in chapter nine. The Pharisees are asking if they are “blind too”. In response, Jesus describes a shepherd that takes care of his flock. He compares this to the thief who sneaks over the sides and tries to steal and harm the sheep.
You see, one of the best ways for any animal predator to gather their prey is to isolate them from the group. One is no real challenge. This idea is true in human life and is even depicted in films like Harry Potter where even the hero is reminded that alone, he is no real threat.
That is what the thief is trying to do to us, separate us. Makes us feel isolated and helpless.
During this time of pandemic, we live in in a state of tension. Government officials, health professionals, business owners, leaders, and even families are creating wedges between us all. Some are fighting for economics. Some are fighting for health. Some are fighting for livelihoods. Some are fighting because of pride. Some are fighting because they don’t know what else to do.
Schools are closed. Churches have moved online. Restaurants are drive-thru or carryout only. Kids are with grandparents while parents are out working. It truly is crazy.
In the midst of a global pandemic, we are all fighting each other and each other’s interests while at the same time quoting “we are all in this together.” The problem is that everyone is looking out for themselves and their own interests.
Some people love a fight. They love conflict. They want to see people divided. We have lost sight of the common enemy. We have lost of the only one who can really save us now, or the one who ever could.
The enemy of the coronavirus. The enemy who lurks in the shadows, Satan himself. The savior, Jesus.
In John 10:10 Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd comes to give life. But not just any life, life to the full! Or, the best life. A life that encompasses the present and the future.
Now, the best life does not mean one free of harm or free of trouble. The best life means one that has hope and peace and joy knowing that God’s Spirit dwells in us now, and that in the future we will dwell with in heaven for eternity.
My new baby niece reminds me that there is always life even in the midst of the storms. I hope that you will not fall into the trap of the enemy, the thief, but rather run into the arms of the one who gives us life and life to the full. Take heart friends.
Anyway, I was just thinking…