I had only been working at Starbucks for two weeks when I had to completely change the way I perform my role. Ordinarily, when someone would pull up to the drive-through I would say into my headset, “Hi! Welcome to Starbucks, where we like to brew beans and serve smiles. My name is Caleb, how may I help you?” I would type in their order and they would pull forward to the drive-through window. When they would arrive, I would normally say, “Hi, how are you??” With lots of energy and a big smile. If they were to ask how I was doing, I would reply, “So much better now that you’re here!” Which usually elicits a charmed laugh and a nice tip. I would then handle the transaction, hand them their finely crafted drink, and then they would be on their merry way.
But then, in early March, the coronavirus hit our town and everything changed. Instead, when working at the drive-through window, I had to have a completely new rhythm. The primary difference is now I have to wear plastic or latex gloves, which makes my hands feel like they are being hugged by a saran wrap snuggie. I don’t even know how that is possible, but it’s true. I also have to wash my hands every twenty minutes. If cleanliness leads to godliness, then my hands have been transfigured.
The craziest part is if I handle cash or change or a person’s card. If that happens, I have to handle the money, take off my gloves, put on hand sanitizer, put on new gloves, then hand them their drink. I completely understand the need, because its to protect myself and the customer. But that’s a long routine to go through while also trying to keep good timing.
Every single one of us have been affected in the same way by covid-19. All of us are facing the same trials, the same changes, the same tensions. There are very few things in this world that we can say this about, but as I was taking a step back and looking at this pandemic from a larger point of view, I realized that this virus and its relation to us reminds me of something I have read before: The Bible.
Let’s create some parallels by first looking at COVID-19 with a larger point of view:
- Something that was not good, came into our world and threw everything into chaos. It changed everything.
- Now we can’t even live in a way that's normal anymore. It forces us to be separated from other people we care about, social distancing.
- It’s so dangerous that we have to put certain laws in place to protect us and others from the damage that this virus does.
- And so we are working hard to set things right and get rid of this virus so life can go back to normal.
In case you don’t know a lot about what Christians actually believe, let me present to you a perspective of our beliefs about the origins of evil:
- In the beginning, everything was perfect and good. God & Heaven, and Humanity & Earth were together and intertwined in perfect harmony. But then, selfish nature, evil, sin entered into the world and it disrupted the way things were supposed to be, throwing everything into chaos, changing everything.
- Now we can’t even live the way that we were designed to. Sin separated us from God, and we were distanced in our relationship with Him.
- The selfish nature in our heart is so dangerous to us and the world around us that God put laws in place to protect us from the damage the virus in our souls will do.
- So God is working hard to fix it, wanting us to work in cooperation with Him to restore things to the way they are supposed to be. To make right all the things that were made wrong by the first virus.
This is not normal.
While I was working the drive-through at Starbucks, I was commenting on how crazy things are now. One of my co-workers said, “It’s just the new normal for now.” And it got me thinking, what would happen if this quarantine we are in lasts for more than a year? Two years? Three years? Eventually, the way we are living now would be “the new normal.”
Except that all of us would know that this is not “normal.” The way things are supposed to be is when social distancing is gone, when I don’t have to always be conscious of whether I am touching my face with my hands or not, when I can freely travel without worry of being infected, when things are back to the way they should be.
And that is exactly the same with the way this world is. We have been living in “the new normal” for so long that we are blinded to the reality that this is not the way things are supposed to be. We are supposed to be living in a world where there is no more sorrow, corruption, pain, or suffering. A world where sickness does not exist, where evil does not exist, where death does not exist.
But in order for us to have that, we need evil to be removed from this world, we need our selfish nature to be removed from our heart. We caused the virus that infects our world and our hearts to separate us from everything good and right. We caused the sickness that separated us from our own Creator.
Just like the covid-19 can lead to death in this life, the virus that we allow to rule our hearts will lead us to death in the next life. But just like we need the world's greatest doctors to heal the sickness that is plaguing our world, God came down as the good doctor to bring healing to the true virus that infects our souls and our world.
The way we are living is like we are just carelessly letting ourselves be infected by this virus and finding joy in spreading it to others. While you and I were wrestling under the covers with sin, when God was the furthest thing from our mind, that is when Jesus chose to die for us. (Romans 5:8, paraphrased) God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to live and suffer in our place, to be murdered by us, and then rise again from the grave three days later so that we could be given the ability to work with God to make everything right.
Even if it sounds outrageous to you, I believe someone could be reading this right now and know that they need to surrender to following the best doctor, Jesus. Even if it makes no sense, I believe someone could be reading this and is feeling something in their heart. I believe that God could be speaking to you and I don’t want you to ignore it. It isn’t complicated, loving Jesus is simple. It’s hard, and it will cost you a lot, but it is simple and it is the most important decision you will ever make.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
- John 3:16 (NKJV)