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The Gift of Disruption

The Gift of Disruption

“Disruptions like COVID-19 can break through the deceptions and reveal that there is more to life than what we see.”

One of the best descriptors for this current season is “disruption.” Everything in life has been affected by this invisible little creature called COVID-19. We have been quarantined at home by the governing authorities. Everything that we would consider part of normal life has been closed. We now even do church (if we can really call it that) via video chat. We might enjoy being able to work and worship in our comfy pants, but after a while, the oddity gets old. Life has been disrupted, and we want to get back to normal.

How do we respond to disruptions on this scale? It depends. If our vision of life does not see past what we can feel, see, taste, and touch, then we will struggle. The life that we knew is no more, and we fear that we might never get it back. We are forced to acknowledge that we have little real control over life. We can’t make businesses or schools reopen. We can’t make the virus go away. Either we are going to fall into despair with feelings of hopelessness, or we might get angry that our plans and hopes are being displaced.

There is another option. We could consider that this disruption might be a much needed gift. Hosea 2:5-7 gives us a vivid picture of God’s dealings with a rebellious people in the life of Hosea’s wife, a prostitute named Gomer. The adulterous Gomer runs off to other lovers thinking that those lovers provide for her needs, just as Israel is doing with other gods. So God, the ever jealous husband, decides to disrupt things in order to bring her home. He determines to “hedge up her way with thorns.” He walls her in so that she cannot get to her lovers, leaving her empty and desperate. She might sense that God is out to get her, but she would be terribly wrong. At the end of verse 7, she comes to a critical insight: “I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.” A situation that seemed harsh and frustrating turns out to be a great gift to this wayward spouse. Towards the end of the chapter, God’s whole intent becomes clear. He opposes Gomer’s plans in order to free her from her addiction to her false loves, and to turn her heart back to her true love, a love who has steadily demonstrated goodness towards her the whole time.

The frustration of Gomer’s plans was a disruptive gift. This current moment might be such a gift for us. “Normalcy” can deceive us in several ways that can be deadly. First, we can wrongly believe that our plans are what the good life is about. We think we know what we need and what is good, not realizing that what we pursue might be a black hole of unsatisfied desires that will forever leave us wanting. We don’t see that, because our vision is limited by the here and now. Secondly, we can grow numb to the fact that the One who exists outside of our present material world actually makes all things work and can step into this world as He chooses. Thirdly, we can falsely believe that we have the ability to make life work. We think we know enough, that we are powerful enough, and that we are wise enough to run our lives in ways that are good. We are deceived. We are too small to have that potential.

Disruptions like COVID-19 can break through the deceptions and reveal that there is more to life than what we see. We need the constant reminder that our material, temporal, and finite world is the creation and realm of an eternal, infinite, and holy God, who by the simple utterance of a word raises up the broken and brings down the proud. This ultimate Ruler is also good beyond imagination. He is actively working to capture our hearts and to lavish His love and grace upon us who are so prone to stray. The material and the temporal are not enough to satisfy a heart created for eternity, but the King is.

Let’s respond to COVID-19 by taking a step back. Let’s consider that this disruption is a gift from our true love designed to bring some sanity back into our perspective. Let the walls and hedges He has built do their frustrating and good work to remind us that He is the beginning, the end and everything in the middle.