By: Priscilla Joel
We have wandered through many unknowns the past several months, and as the title of this devotional series would inform you, it has often felt like we’ve been exiled. Exiled from each other, exiled from the outside world and maybe even exiled from freedoms we used to enjoy. As more and more people are receiving their vaccine each day, I have been reflecting on all the rules we have had to follow (and continue to) to keep ourselves and each other safe throughout this pandemic.
This made me think about the hundreds of laws that we can find in the Old Testament. Laws given to the people by God. Just like there are rules we follow today during COVID, those laws, while seemingly restrictive, were for the benefit of the people. These laws, believe it or not, were liberating rather than constricting. For example, the “eye for an eye” law was initially not about vengeance or revenge, but about demanding justice. We follow COVID restrictions carefully to keep people safe in the long-run, just as the laws that were implemented were to prevent future conflict and heartaches.
They were given to the people to show that God was here to stay rather than freeing the Israelites and leaving. Deliverance out of Egypt was not a onetime deal. It was a lifetime of deliverance. Deliverance from the oppressive Egyptians, yes, but also deliverance from sin and from a life without purpose. This deliverance was as much a transformation of the body as it was a transformation of the heart. This deliverance allows us as humans to have the ability to create and share stories and learn from our experiences. Then we connect our stories to each other and contribute to the much larger story that God has planned for us.
Since the very beginning, storytelling has always been one of the biggest keys to humanity’s survival. One generation learns something and passes it on to the next, who in turn adds on to the preexisting knowledge they are taught. Each person, each kid, each moment and each story adds on and contributes to who we all are and who we all become. But just as the Israelites took a detour during their deliverance through the wilderness, it seems we have too. I don’t know too many people who were planning on spending so much time self-quarantining before the pandemic hit.
As I sit here and reflect on all of the ways in which I felt God has “delivered” me through this time, there is one that sticks out more than the rest. Because God’s love for us is the ultimate deliverance story. Love is the law that liberates us all no matter where we are or where we come from. Love is the story we tell each other, our kids and those around us. Time spent in exile was certainly not fun, but I do hope that we all come out of it with a story or two to keep us going forward into the future. What’s the story you’re going to tell?
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