Frustrated bosses are finding some furloughed workers reluctant to return. With the UK heading for the driest May since 1896, topping up the tan on 80% pay doesn’t seem such a bad deal. The ONS report gardening and DIY up 147%. But wonderful weather is not the only reason some people are secretly loving lockdown.
Who you’re with
Lockdown reveals a lot about our relationships. Back in March the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Harries, said it was time for couples to “test the strength of their relationship.” They could choose lockdown together or apart. Some brought forward their weddings as a result. Others with happy families have seen lockdown as an extra holiday time to spend together.
For Christians, these positive aspects of lockdown provide a picture of heaven. Jesus spoke of heaven as being like a wedding feast with him as the bridegroom, his people as the bride and the door shut behind them so no-one could spoil the banquet. Christians look forward to being forever with the God-man who died for them.
Where others are
But being locked-down with the wrong people is terrible. Domestic violence has surged in the UK. Italian lawyers report a 30% rise in marriage partners seeking divorce as their lockdown eases. Some see their life as a “living hell” to be locked down with people they don’t want to be with. But when the Bible talks about hell, its worst aspect is not who is present but who is not. Jesus’ continual presence makes heaven heavenly and his continual absence makes hell hellish.
Some people don’t like what Jesus taught about heaven and hell because he said there was a great chasm fixed between them that none could cross. But our experiences in lockdown show how this is necessary for heaven to be heaven. The police enjoyed a good start to lockdown because most criminals were home – the police even used this to their advantage to apprehend those on their wanted list. For heaven to be heaven, evil needs to be locked down elsewhere.
Where you are
Where you are in lockdown matters almost as much as who you’re with. That’s why many of those with the luxury of second homes fled to them. Lockdown in the country or on the coast is much more pleasant than in the city. Those of us with the privilege of being on the coast could enjoy pristine beaches for a time without day-trippers leaving litter.
When the Bible speaks of heaven it is talking about a physical place not just an idea. In fact, it talks of a new heaven and a new earth with pure water, plentiful fruit and precious jewels. There is no more sickness, sadness or separation. Jesus said that heaven remains pristine: no moth and rust to destroy, no thieves to break in and steal.
What’s coming next
However lovely the people you are with and beautiful the place you are in for lockdown, there are still worries about what happens next. Will I still have a job after furlough? Might I have a cancer growing that hasn’t been spotted?
Living in the moment we might be care free. But we’re still ageing. Our gardens may be neat and our houses in good nick. But the weeds will grow and the paint will peel. Here in Thanet you see the immaculate bungalows of new retirees next to unkempt ones to which carers are admitted twice a day.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were something more secure? That is what Jesus offered in Matthew chapter 6:
19“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Christians are eternally grateful for Jesus’ offer because none of us deserves heaven. Naturally we all deserve to be locked out of heaven lest our selfish thoughts, words and deeds spoil it as we have spoilt this world.
Jesus suffered separation from his Father on the cross – punished for the sin of those who trust him – so that we might not separated from him forever in hell.
Instead, he offers – to all who turn from their own way and trust in him – to be eternally locked in, in the wonderful security of heaven. The greatest joy of that place is found in four words: the Lord is there.
If you have any questions or would like to know more please contact us.