While I was trying to explain today’s world events to my 90-year old father recently, I thought to myself, “this sounds like an episode of The Twilight Zone!” I confess I used to love that show as a kid, and the creepy music ("dee dee DEE dee"…) and opening monologue never failed to send shivers down my spine.
You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.
We seem to be living in a type of “Twilight Zone” these days, don’t we? It feels like we are caught between two dimensions: the life we used to know, one that felt sure and familiar, and the life ahead, one that seems scary and uncertain. As I reflected on this, I recalled that we are not alone in human history in this regard. Numerous individuals and people groups have faced a seismic shift like this, and we read of many of them in the Bible.
Some examples include:
- Abraham – a man called out of everything familiar to a lifetime journey toward an unknown land to become the father of a new nation (Genesis 12 begins the story)
- Moses – son of an Israelite slave, adopted by an Egyptian princess, raised as a royal, driven to the desert, then back to Egypt to lead out a host of disgruntled people on a lifetime journey (Exodus 2)
- The Israelites – wow…just trace their many passages from the “known” to the “unknown” throughout Scripture and human history
- Joseph – beloved son, hated brother, sold into slavery, thrown in prison, rewarded by a king and named second in command of a national super power (Genesis 37)
- David – a shepherd boy who became a warrior, then a fugitive, then a king (I Samuel 16)
- Daniel – a noble youth turned conquered slave who became a trusted Babylonian ruler, thrown mercilessly to the lions, then miraculously brought back to national prominence (Daniel 1)
The list could go on and on, but by now you get the idea. There are lots of shifting sands in life; lots of roads which appear to be heading straight toward a recognizable destination but suddenly take a 90 degree turn into the unknown. So what can we learn from these beloved biblical accounts? I would suggest we learn that times of drastic change, while scary and seemingly out of control, are actually orchestrated by God to accomplish His purposes.
In fact, if you’ll reflect on these stories, you can see that it was in these “Twilight Zone” times that God was at work in fantastic, strategic ways. Often we observe that these were times of preparation for His people. He was moving them toward a destination to fulfill His intended purpose. Those sudden, shocking life changes placed them in positions where they could be trained, taught, and tested to accomplish their God-ordained ends.
We also see that these periods of change and uncertainty require faith, patience and fortitude. These experiences can last for a long time from a human perspective. So while we may chafe at having to wait and wonder during this incredible world-wide event, we should determine to trust the Author of the story. He has proven over and over to be good, wise and faithful. The historical accounts provided in the Bible reveal that God knows exactly where His people are at any given moment in history and how to prepare them for where they are headed.
So what do we do while we wait? There’s no magic formula. Just do what all Christians throughout time have had to do: Be patient. Learn contentment. Be obedient to what you know is right. Glean wisdom from His Word and in prayer as you make decisions. And through it all, seek to become better acquainted with your great God.
What lies ahead after COVID-19 I certainly couldn’t say. But by reflecting on the truth revealed in God’s Word, I’m assured that He is preparing each one of us in unique and wonderful ways. You were born for such a time as this, dear students. It may be strange and scary, but it is also exhilarating and humbling to realize that God is equipping you right now to live out the next chapter in HIS wonderful unfolding story.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”