There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. ~1 John 4:18
There are many “what if’s” going around these days. What if the provincial re-opening means more people get infected with Covid-19? What if more people die? What if we end up having to shut down again? What if it takes a year or more for a vaccine to be developed and available? What if… These what ifs are the questions that loom and threaten, taking away any sense of peace we might have in a day. And in this time of so many unknowns, the “what if” questions are the most natural ones to ask. In a recent provincial press conference, one reporter battered the premier with a myriad of “what if” questions. And his response is a good one for us to keep in mind each day, too: we do not know yet.
Unfortunately, we live that daily reality of not knowing yet. Not knowing and not having answers does not feel good. Most of the time, we prefer to make plans and know what the coming weeks and months will bring. Yet now, we are living into a new unknown and we do not know what lies ahead of us on this path. Theologian Richard Rohr writes of this time: “Not one of us has a reliable crystal ball. We don’t know what lies ahead in this uncertain moment in history. Yet we know we are called into relationship, with our Creator and with each other. It is through liminal space that we may taste—however briefly —experiences of divine union, recognizing the radical oneness we all enjoy with everything—simply by being born.”
We can be encouraged in this oneness we share to hold before us the what ifs and the unknowns. We can look at them, honour them, even add to them. God even invites us to embrace this unknown and the what ifs with perfect love. The writer of First Peter says to the church in his day, and to us now, that perfect love casts out fear. Perfect love casts out the what ifs and unknowns too. In love, we are called back to relationship with God. In love, we are called into relationship with one another even as we honour physical distancing. There is a oneness with God and one another as we journey in this time of unknowns and what ifs together. And we are held in that perfect love of God which will see us through it and which will guide us into that unknown future.
Loving God, we stand at the threshold of what is to come yet living with great unknowns and what ifs. Be present with us in our fears and anxieties, hold us close in your grace, guide our days in Your perfect love for us made known in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.