A few days ago as I woke up the words of Psalm 127: 1-2 came to mind.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labour in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
I’ve heard many messages preached on this passage about unless God builds the church, the pastor is working for nothing and, unless God guards the church’s work, the watchmen, intercessors do their work in vain, but I felt the Holy Spirit question me whether this can refer to closer to home. What if it means unless you are building your life and everything in it to God’s design and ways, it’s all in vain, worthless, a futile waste of effort. And God’s ways seem to be as much about justice, care, freedom and compassion as they are about church gatherings and our personal relationship. It’s not an either/or scenario, we should do one without neglecting the other (Matt 23:23). In fact, the overflow and outworking of our personal relationship with God and our times gathered together should lead us to care for the poor, the marginalised, the hungry and our planet.
Here’s a fairly dystopian description of the society we live in. We work longer and longer hours, even working during our commute and at home, to earn more and more money. We spend that money in supermarkets that squeeze suppliers’ margins so tight that they increasingly use unsafe or unethical practices to produce that food; we buy clothing and equipment manufactured in sweatshops in the developing world where safety standards and reasonable remuneration are non-existent; we spend our leisure time glued to gadgets that electronically stimulate our brains so we cannot sleep and mess up the chemical balance of our brains; and periodically we jump on cheap flights run by airlines that exploit their workers to crash out on a beach somewhere warm, to try to recover enough to come home and do it all again. Our whole society is like a spring that has been coiled so tight it is about to snap and the state of our mental and physical health and our relationships are the proof of it.
A recent poll by YouGov suggests only 9% of Britons want life to go back to exactly the same as it was before Corona Virus. Increasingly, we all recognise that our way of life is broken and, unless we make changes, it is not sustainable for us or the planet.
I feel like God’s view of our world and our lifestyles is “in vain”. I also feel like He has given us this pause moment, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, to stop and evaluate our lives and to ask Him for His solutions, to stand in the crossroads and to ask him for the ancient paths so we find rest for our souls.
What changes does He want for us so that we release some of the pressure, create some space and find room to breathe again?
As I said in last weeks blog:
Sabbath, Solitude, Silence, Simplicity and Fasting are all tools believers have traditionally used to give two-fingers to the spirit of the age that demand we do more, collect more, be more, acquire more. Others are modifying what they spend their money or their time on for the sake of the planet. It’s all part of the same rebellion against the spirit of the age that must have more, all the time.
The life you want after corona (AC) will not happen by accident, particularly if you want it to be different. It requires thought, prayer, a plan and intentional baby steps. You also can’t change the whole world and its systems in a day, but every step you take against the tide is a step in the right direction.
What is God lovingly leading you to change because he’s a good, good Father who wants the best for you and the world you live in?