The Gospel (Week Three) and the Corona Virus

To borrow the words of the great philosophers of times long past…”Corona Virus stinketh and I like it not.” I’m fairly certain one of those Greek guys said that. Either way, these next few weeks will probably be a little frustrating. “Social distancing” is code for no fun happening. Fortunately for Christians, the gospel is just as meaningful if not more so during pandemics as it is when the sun is shining and there’s no fear of the dreaded bat disease.
Last week we talked about the parable of the prodigal son. We discovered what true repentance looks like. We also discovered what God’s response to our repentance is every single time we turn to him. Jesus paints this picture of God as a Father who looks longingly in our direction just waiting for us to head to Him. When we do head towards God, He gathers up his robes and goes running lickedy-sizle towards us. Cool beans! 
This raises an obvious question: What about us is so special that God loves us so much? When I was a sophomore in high school, my family volunteered at a Christian summer camp. We did some cooking and some cleaning and some weed-eating; basically whatever needed to be done. The week we were there, a gigantic group of Baptists from the surrounding area were meeting for their yearly camp experience. One of the guys who was in charge got up and started talking about the rules. “No fighting, no cellphones, and absolutely no purpling!” (Purpling means flirting, holding hands, sneaking off to “talk” etc….)  I nodded my head approvingly as I looked at all these goofy kids (Many who were my age) with their veins pumped full of those nasty hormones many Jr High students are terrified of.
I left the meeting thinking that it was good that they had responsible rules because kids are dumb. I had almost finished my thoughts when I saw her,..a taller than average girl who had blue eyes and a pretty head of neatly braided very blond hair. I could have sworn she was an angel and I almost asked her where she was hiding her wings. (I was home schooled and was bad at flirting OK!)  To me, she was perfect. I spent the rest of that week trying not to fall head over heals in love with this girl whose name I didn’t even know. I remember being afraid that If I was especially nice to her when she came through the food line I might get into trouble for “Purpling”. That week and the girl with blond hair left such an impression on me that I wrote about it in my journal when I got home. I never saw her again.
Skip forward two years, I was a senior and my sister and I were asked to lead a Bible study in a youthful offenders girls prison in FL. Again, many of the girls were my age! I know what you are thinking, why on earth would they put such a good looking guy like me in a prison full of girls who hadn’t had much male interaction for some time? It was hard guys, but I did it. Haha….Actually, there was no real problem. I can honestly say I didn’t find any of the girls attractive. The wrong decisions they had made, their bitterness and their anger had made an impression on their faces that was hard to miss twisting their features with angry lines. These girls were not even close to being “perfect” (Whatever that means). I didn’t fall asleep trying not to think about them. Instead, I went to sleep praying for them, saddened that they didn’t love others well nor were they lovable themselves.
Back to the question at the top.What about us is so special that God loves us so much? Nothing. You and I are much more like the girls in prison scared by life and messed up by our choices to disobey God’s laws than we are like the celestial being that I fell in love with at the summer camp. God’s love for us is not based on our merits but on His personality. God, Himself is love and he loves us like crazy. Fortunately for us, he doesn’t leave us all ugly and messed up.The Bible says, “He who is in Christ is a new creation, the old things are passed away behold all things are made new.” Again, cool beans. God loved me when I was ugly and loved me to beauty through His Son Jesus.
That my friends is the coolest of all the beans. 

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