One of the most difficult results of the COVID pandemic is how we are now having to restrain ourselves from hugging or even extending a handshake to someone else. Who can resist when the warmth of friendship and love is extended? Research is revealing that people today are lonelier than ever and the isolation caused by the pandemic has increased this even further. Interestingly too, more people are buying pets to help bridge the need to be able to talk to someone and care for something. They want to connect with some kind of warmth even if it only comes from an animal.  

God is more than love. He takes action. He loves.

God is in the action of loving and embracing us. He wants us to do the same for others. He commands us to love one another (John 13:34) and to reach out and embrace actually embrace them. When we embrace, it is a forward action love, and we become God’s loving hands extended on earth. 

Then something wonderful… even miraculous happens. 

We get our minds off ourselves. Fear of the unknown dissolves when love is present and when it is in action. It allows us to move forward and do more than we ever thought or dreamed especially during uncertainty because we can move in the presence and strength of God. We are able to access God’s full power and authority on earth to overcome evil with good. Death has no sting. Evil cannot defeat us. Whoever believes the good news and is baptized will be saved, and whoever does not believe the good news will be condemned. And these miracle signs will accompany those who believe: They will drive out demons in the power of my name. They will speak in tongues. They will be supernaturally protected from snakes and from drinking anything poisonous. And they will lay hands on the sick and heal them.” Mark 16:16-18 (TPT). 

This sounds a bit scary or preposterous but it’s a promise of God. 

This scripture reveals how God uses the unnatural and the mysteries of the spiritual world. Theologians tell us that we should think of these Bible verses in today’s language rather than the Aramaic idioms that the verses were translated from. To be protected from snakes means overcoming our enemies and drinking poison refers to poisonous words that might be said of us. And there is the miraculous in these scriptures. Many times, the Holy Spirit allows us to speak in a language (tongues) of a culture that is foreign so that God’s redemptive story and words can be heard and understood by others. It physically means speaking in the miraculous. Sometimes it can also mean using a cultural language or slang in a way that captures a person’s understanding. God uses us to speak His words into another’s heart. A study by the Barna Group did recent research to reveal the way different denominations worship and connect with God. Believing (millennials), who come specifically from charismatic denominations, are over three times as likely to say that praying in tongues or in a prayer language is a key part of their weekly worship (23% vs. 7% mainline Protestant).” Could it be that the Harry Potter books and movies have actually opened millennials up to the mysterious spiritual world? Movies using special effects have made all of us more open in general to the supernatural. What would have deterred many from believing in God’s miraculous power in the past has changed. We actually have become less afraid and able to believe in an unseen world because of the believability of movies and their influence at early ages in particular. I love how even animated stories like Beauty and the Beast and the transformation that happens to the Beast at the end of the story has been done. It is a revelation of how God can transform us. In fact, animator Glen Keane, who drew the beast in the Disney movie, said that his own personal transformation of becoming a believer in Christ directly affected how he drew and animated the beast for the movie.

God is calling us to be action lovers of others. To be walkers not talkers. To use or skills and talents to take action and actively be creative. Let’s find novel ways to move God’s story of love forward even with the restraints of social distancing mandated by the COVID pandemic. Let’s be His active extension of His redemptive and transformative love. 

What will you do?