A common symptom for people like me with fibromyalgia is something called costochondritis — inflammation between the upper rib cage and breast bone that causes chest pain. I have had this before and know now not to be too alarmed, but, given my family history of heart failure and breast cancer, my doctors take chest pain really seriously.
This week the chest pain came back, and the doctor quickly ordered some tests.** Even though I knew there was a high chance it was just a muscle strain, I still had a moment of panic. What if it is something more serious? What if I catch or spread COVID by going into a medical clinic? All the worst case scenarios began to creep in.
But as Mike looked into my eyes and began to see me spiraling, he said something that I will never forget: “Kelly, even if the worst happens, you know what will happen? I will love you, and I will love you, and I will love you.”
Is this not God’s heart for us?
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 136: “God’s faithful love lasts forever.” And they repeat that line twenty-six times! There is something about those words that we need to hear over and over again.
This season has so many unknowns and many of us are filled with fear. In the U.S., we just had a traumatic moment (the culmination of the last several years) watching the debate when the president refused to condemn white supremacy, and only a few days later we got news that he is in the hospital with COVID, a horrible disease that we still aren’t sure is being taken seriously. For worst-case-scenario thinkers like myself, and especially for the most vulnerable in society, the future does not seem bright.
The Psalmist writes of God’s faithful love in the context of oppression (Psalm 136). God’s faithful love is longer lasting than oppressive rulers and empires. God’s faithful love is longer lasting than economic downfall and starvation. God’s faithful love is longer lasting than earth itself (and pandemics and fires and hurricanes). God’s faithful love — his liberating and holistic healing of humanity — gets the final say.
One of the hardest parts of facing the unknown, is believing that our current circumstances will last forever. But the only thing that is forever is God’s faithful love.
Take a moment and think about your fears. And then imagine Jesus looking into your eyes and telling you, “Even if the worst happens, I will love you, and I will love you, and I will love you.”
Now think about a people group that is especially vulnerable to suffering right now. How might Jesus be inviting you to join him as he speaks — and lives out — those same words for them?
**All my tests results came back normal! 🙂