Courage, Faith and Hope

Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.    (Isaiah 54:2)

With all the social distancing and stay at home orders, with the closing of restaurants, gyms and salons, with actual meetings being canceled, trips postponed, schools shuttered, plans changed, it can feel like our world is shrinking, closing down, and becoming smaller.

Recently, as I was feeling not a little claustrophobic with all the changes in our lives because of the epidemic, today’s scripture kept on coming to me.  The movement in these words from Isaiah isn’t towards closing down, but opening up.  During a difficult time in Israel’s history, a time when so much of their common life and faith had been lost, God gave these words to His prophet: “Enlarge the site of your tent.”  In other words, regardless of the difficulty of outward circumstances, expand your desires, hopes, dreams, aspirations, and influence.

What could these words mean to us right now?  The obvious meaning is the connection that our life is expanding right now as our country begins to open up again; and I know that all of us are hoping and praying that everyone is careful, sensible, and responsible about doing so.

But besides the obvious meaning, how else could these words apply to our current circumstances?  Just because some aspects of our lives are more restricted doesn’t mean that our minds, hearts, and souls need to be shrinking.  I keep on pondering what new and expanded thinking and feeling and believing that God might desire for us.

As much as we have been impacted by dealing with this virus, we must not allow it to totally confine or define our thinking, feeling, believing, trusting, acting, and hoping.

We need hope all the time, and maybe especially during such troubling and traumatic times.  Our hope is based on this:  We have a great God who can do great things, and this epidemic doesn’t limit God in any way.  Even if some aspects of our outer lives may be smaller or constricted, our inner world, spiritual life, intellectual pursuits, and the size of our hearts shouldn’t be controlled by Coronavirus, but by our relationship with God. And our great God who loves us with great love, wants us to “enlarge the site of [our] tent” by living with courage and faith and hope.

Reflection Questions:

  1.  If you enlarged your mind, what would your thinking be?
  1.  If you enlarged your heart, how would your relationships change?
  1.  If you enlarged your faith, how would your life be transformed?

One thought on “Courage, Faith and Hope

  1. Before this Corona 19 pandemic fell on us, the vast majority of us were thinking about our own tent. How can I make it bigger, how can I make it shinier, how can I put more stuff into my tent? Were we self-centered?

    Now, with the pandemic, it appears many of us still worry about our own tent, but we worry in a different way. We worry not about bringing more stuff in. We worry about what we have is shrinking and we worry about how can we keep many things out. Are we self-centered?

    Today as I checked, 93,806 people in the USA have died because of the virus. This really worries us!

    I read yesterday in a book that in just 100 days in 1994, about 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda. Rwanda is about the size of New Jersey. The Ebola outbreak of 2014-16 killed over 11,300 people in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. I wlll speak for myself here. I worried a small bit about Ebola coming to my tent. I did not seem to worry at all about the people of Rwanda for that was half a world away and would not come to my tent.

    Lord you have commanded us to love our neighbor as ourself. We have so failed at that. Please forgive us and teach us. Help us to value others above ourselves.

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