On December 31, 1988, a playoff game took place between the Philadelphia Eagles and the hometown Chicago Bears. The game started off normally enough with a clear sky, brisk cold, what some would say “football” weather. During the 2nd quarter of the game, this dense fog rolled in off Lake Michigan making it difficult to see more than 15-20 yards for the rest of the game. The announcers could not see the field—even those on the sidelines did not know what was happening in the middle of the field. The game even earned a nickname: “The Fog Bowl.” This game and the conditions surrounding it provide an apt metaphor for 2020 and beyond.
I remember preaching about all that we believed God was going to do with us at the beginning of the 2020 calendar year. By the end of the year, with the presidential transition struggling to get off the ground, with the COVID fatigue moving into its ninth month and everyone living with a low-to-high level frustration settling in and displaying itself in various ways, fracturing our churches from within and fracturing churches, delaying getting back to “normal,” a dark fog descended upon us.
What we need is encouragement. Peter reminds us:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.2 Peter 1:3-4
I believe it is up to the church of Jesus Christ to model what this like from an authentic faith and godly character not just in good times but in times of struggle as well. God is exposing the idols and the fractures that already existed but were covered by good times and things moving in our apparent favor. We have a frustration right now, but I believe God wants to set us free from that frustration, from that desire to see things go the way we want rather than getting on board with what God is up to.
Yes, He is working. His goodness and faithfulness are not quarantined to just good times and smooth sailing. The entirety of Hebrews could be summed up with three words: “Jesus is better”—than the angels, than Moses, than Melchizedek, than the old covenant—better!
Say this with me: “God will give you everything you need to do everything He commands.” Even now? Yes. But things aren’t “normal.” True, but God is not confined by “normal.” But “church” isn’t the same. But the Great Commission is not quarantined, everyone! How does God equip us? By the Spirit! And through the Spirit we receive what we need.