The current restrictions on movements and gatherings has meant participating in church services from a distance. That has its downside of course, but there is also an upside to physical distancing. For me it meant that, not only could I "go" to my own church via the internet yesterday but that I could also "go" to church in Medellín, Colombia to hear a good friend preach at El Redil Estadio.
The message delivered was on Samson and among the many excellent observations that Diego made, one about Samson's last act struck me. Despite his many flaws, God still chose to work through Samson. And in the end Samson sacrificed his own life to deliver his people from their enemy. Diego was talking about heroes—even those with "clay feet" as was the case with Samson. Diego then compared Samson with the truest of true heroes. While the deliverance that Samson provided was at best partial and temporary, Jesus's sacrifice provided for a deliverance that would be complete and eternal.
"You see," writes Paul in Romans 5:6-8, "at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
During these days we are reminded constantly of those frontline workers who are putting their own lives at risk to ensure that the rest of us are safe. We appreciate the dedication that brings doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, paramedics and all the support staff that work with them, to work every day. There are bus drivers, truck drivers, workers in factories producing necessary goods, employees in grocery stores and pharmacies who put themselves "out there" so that the rest of us are looked after. We appreciate the risks that they are taking on our behalf. Theirs is a heroism that is tangible, visible. Whatever their "clay feet" might represent, they are still heroes.
But ultimately our hope does not rest on our own modern day "Samsons". One of the things Diego noted was that God was there with Samson, with His people, despite the dire situation in which the nation found itself. He was not limited by the frailties of His servants, nor did He abandon them because of their flaws. He delivered them.
Our modern day heroes will work to save us from the consequences of COVID-19, but the truest of true heroes has come to save us from something a whole lot worse. Jesus provides deliverance from the sin that would condemn us to an eternal death. That's the Gospel. We await the good news that COVID-19 is gone. But whether or not the virus has left us, whether or not it touches us or members of our circle of friends and family, the real good news is that whatever today or tomorrow might bring, when we place our trust in Jesus, accept His offer of forgiveness, we can know the certainly of a deliverance that goes far beyond this life. This deliverance carries with it a promise that brings hope in uncertain times: "Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid". (John 14:27)
Trust the truest of true heroes.