Are you walking by faith or by sight through this storm we call Coronavirus? No, it’s not a judgment. I am not in any place to judge. It is instead a question I am also trying to answer.
The seventh verse of the fifth chapter of Saint Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth (this sounds like a math problem), better known as 2 Corinthians 5:7, states, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
So are you walking by faith or by sight?
I have a confession to make. When I walk, I do so with my eyes open looking all around (for wolves and bears!). So I am walking by sight, not by faith. On the other hand, whenever I leave the house I do so with the faith that everything will be okay and I’ll be able to return sometime later.
When I think of walking by faith alone I am reminded of a scene from “Star Wars: A New Hope” in which Luke Skywalker is on a combat mission to destroy the Death Star (spoiler alert!). Suddenly Obi-Wan Kenobi’s voice tells him to “use the Force Luke! Let go! Luke, trust me.” Luke responds by shutting off his targeting computer and related systems and instead uses the Force to successfully carry out his mission.
To be clear, I am not equating the Christian faith with the Star Wars spirituality called the Force. I am simply trying to find an example of acting without seeing. Personally, I am much better at acting, or speaking, without thinking.
When I think of walking by faith and not by sight, I think of farmers and gardeners. Both start out with seeds and soil. Neither have sight to see the finished produce and the time in between of rain and sun. Yet, in the end, plants grow and there is much to celebrate.
As Christians we celebrate Easter and Jesus’ resurrection knowing that the early disciples wept at Jesus’ capture, mock trials, torture and death. On that first Easter Sunday, they did not go to the tomb to celebrate. They went to visit Jesus’ grave. What they found they did not foresee, but before them they saw that He who raised others from the dead was Himself risen.
It is difficult in this time to walk by faith when we see and hear frequent news reports of health and economic distress. It is easy to focus on the “what if questions” that haunt the Internet and news media. It is important, as my best friend put it, to remember that though we cannot vaccinate or otherwise cure Coronavirus, we can treat anxiety, fear, insomnia, and depression.
I believe it is important that we reach out and care for one another. Some are struggling intensely and looking for a way out. Call people and check in with folks. Our circumstances may vary, but we are all in the same storm. It may seem at times like we’ve lost our joy, but Sunday will come and we’ll see our Lord risen again.
God’s blessings be upon you and upon us all. Remember to pray for those on the frontlines of this battle: First responders (law enforcement, fire, ambulance, dispatchers), our nation’s armed forces, nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, emergency room technicians and staff, nursing and retirement home staff, grocery store staff, sanitation crews, truckers, postal workers, delivery people and many, many more!
The Rev. Stephen Reed is Pastor of St. Paul Church on Farmers Loop next to Mushers Hall and Fairbanks PD Chaplain.
Married 25 years, 2 kids, 1 cat and 1 dog. Ordained & Chaplain for 20 years. Ministry philosophy - we're all in this together and Jesus leads the way. Hobbies: working in the woodshed, teaching, and competitive shooting