Who Will Fill in the Blanks?


We desperately want experts to fill in some blanks on how to best fight the corona virus. Scientists, economists and politicians are experts in their fields, but no one has the knowledge required to fill in the blanks left by this virus.

Science is the go-to industry for Covid-19 advice. Leaders have said multiple times and in multiple ways, “I’m following science.” That makes sense, since we’re dealing with a previously unknown virus, but we might forget that scientific data must  be correctly interpreted. Scientists will be the first to admit that their experiments, models and theories are not invincible.

Lately financially flattened folks are starting to advocate for opening up the economy, and we understand that they are desperate; they cannot pay their bills. Federal stimulus and economic theory are useful and economists can make educated guesses about the effects, but they regularly fail to accurately predict the economic future.

In the distant past, Galileo was examined by the inquisition in 1615 for his support of Copernicus’s heliocentric view of the universe. The church found him “foolish and absurd in philosophy” and heretical because his view was not consistent with Scripture. In those days, God was understood to be the supreme being, and therefore, what God said was the absolute truth. No argument. They failed to understand that God’s Word needed to be properly interpreted, and theologians still attempt to do that accurately.

Who will fill in our blanks?

We may find it ridiculous that Galileo was under investigation for scientifically understanding what was true – the earth rotates around the sun – but perhaps a few centuries in the future we would think some of our current scientific beliefs and/or economic predictions are just as crazy. In all cases flawed people with incomplete knowledge interpret data, fill in blanks, and make decisions. We do the best we can.

Nobody has complete knowledge; even the brightest minds do not know everything. It will be interesting to watch the cultural conversation and to observe how the puzzle pieces are put in place. We can look to scientists, economists, politicians and even theologians to inform our knowledge, but it is incomplete.

There is only One who knows everything.

God created the world, holds it together, saved and loves the world. He exists outside of time and, therefore, he knows what has been, what is, and what will be. He knows everything about the corona virus and has given scientists the privilege of increasing their understanding of this virus and has given economists wisdom about the macro economic results of our policies. But there is a limit to what we know.

Will we acknowledge our limits? Will we ask God to guide us?

If we approach this difficult situation with humble acknowledgement of what we don’t know, with clear and unbiased analysis of what we do know and pray to the One who knows everything, we have a chance to  fill in the blanks wisely. I admit, it sounds unlikely, but I’ll pray toward that end.

When we, in humility, seek God, who knows everything, things generally go much better than when we attempt to work it out on our own. Lord, may our experts and leaders seek you and your wisdom.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.   Romans 11:33-36

Photo by Chapman Chow on Unsplash

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Covid-19 Will Change the World


Politico listed listed thirty four ways the world could/would change from less polarization to more telemedicine to big government making a comeback to worship looking different. The New York Times discussed the world doing science together and The Guardian, published “‘We can’t go back to normal’: how will coronavirus change the world?” The introduction to the article in The Guardian says,

Times of upheaval are always times of radical change. Some believe the pandemic is a once-in-a-generation chance to remake society and build a better future. Others fear it may only make existing injustices worse.

Will the optimists or the pessimists be correct? It’s anyone’s guess. I suspect it will be a little bit of both.

If we could see the “before” and “after” of human hearts, however, I’m sure there will be dramatic change.

God is always changing the world by changing individuals’ hearts.

Believers call it spiritual transformation or becoming more spiritually mature as every Christian slowly becomes more like their Savior. Some people have dramatic experiences while others notice changes over time, but we all change, and it is often brought about by challenges, trials and difficulties. This pandemic qualifies.

The results of spiritual transformation aren’t always, or even often, immediately visible, but they are far-reaching. Imagine that a chemist working on a vaccine for this nasty virus had been a gifted but disenchanted college student. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, and her relationship with her parents was, at best, strained, so she thought about dropping out of school and moving across the country. A friend of hers invited her to attend church with her, and she wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but she figured, why not? That day in church she understood something true and loving about God, she got a sense of his power beyond this world, and she was intrigued. She learned more about Jesus, never did drop out of school and went on to do great things.

Of course, that’s a fabricated example, but I believe that sort of transformation happens all the time. We just can’t see it.

One way in which God spiritually transforms people is through crises.

And we’re all facing a crisis now.

Are you praying more than usual? You may have cracked open your Bible for the first time in a while looking for some comfort, peace and/or assurance. Do you feel like Jacob, wrestling with God?

These are opportunities for transformation. Janet O. Hagberg and Robert A. Guelich, in The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith, write about hitting the Wall, a stage of faith that most of us bump into at some point.

Fundamentally, it has to do with slowly breaking through the barriers we have built between our will and a new awareness of God in our lives. We have spent our own energy; we have come to the end of our ropes. We are ready to learn about freedom – the liberty of living without grasping.  p. 115

Jacob wrestled with God all night and at daybreak he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” I’ve always thought that a rather presumptuous statement, but God did change his name to Israel and he blessed him. Jacob then called the place Peniel and said,

It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared. v. 30

In a crisis we come face to face with God, and we must decide whether we will insist on our will being done or submit to God’s will. We might wrestle a while. Some wrestle for years. When we submit, it’s a giant step forward in the transformation process. 

Michelle Van Loon, in Becoming Sage: Cultivating Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality in Midlife, (a book that I highly recommend, by the way) writes,

A sage lives (sometimes uncomfortably) in the tension between two seemingly disparate truths. The first is that God is neither cruel nor powerless. The second is that God is under no obligation to reveal his purposes to us. When there are no explanations, nor any relief when we are faced with suffering, we are presented with the hour-by-hour choice to trust the One who suffered for us and stands with us in our anguish.  p. 182

Will we trust God hour-by-hour? That is the question many of us are wrestling with.

I pray that this would be a time of powerful spiritual transformation.

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

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Celebrating Resurrection

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When I was a kid, Easter was about a new dress, shoes, and maybe even a hat with a long ribbon. We’d lay our clothes out before we went to bed on Saturday night, and the Easter bunny would put … Continue reading

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The Search for Information

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So much input…so little understanding. If only there were an information desk where we could find out everything we need to know about Covid-19. We all want to understand, to get control of this microscopic virus and to live the … Continue reading

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Non-Fiction Books that Expanded my Thinking

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As I wrote this post about non-fiction books during the middle of a pandemic, I realized that many of them took on deeper meaning. That’s the mark of a good book. Following are topics and the books that have expanded … Continue reading

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Escape to an Alternate Reality

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If you’re tired of the virus infected reality in which we’re living, here are a few good novels that will allow you to escape. A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline This was one of my favorite books … Continue reading

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Faith in Uncertain Times

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Normally this morning I would have read my Bible while enduring a half hour on my elliptical machine, hopped in the shower, grabbed a quick breakfast and driven to work in a rush. Not so today. Today, I spent some … Continue reading

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Merry Christmas!

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Another year. New experiences. Expanded knowledge. A baby granddaughter! Growing family. Curious challenges. Blessing upon blessing. The conclusion of 2019 brings the same thoughts and questions as every other year end: Where did the year go? For who and what … Continue reading

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Narratives We Live By

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What is the overarching narrative upon which you model your life? Many of us, consciously or not, run our lives according to the the American Dream. If we get a good education, work hard, save our money, then we will … Continue reading

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God is Working – Even if We’re Clueless

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Recently I’ve had several conversations about the state of our country that have ended with a bewildered shrug. We clearly see a problem or concern, but the answer seems impossible.  No one knows what to do about it. The conversation … Continue reading

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