In strange times we may find inspiration in strange places. I have recently found great inspiration in a very strange place indeed. My inspiration during this time is …. (wait for it),,,. Pontius Pilate!
He would be inspiration as the most memorable ‘hand washer’ in history but it is his question “What is truth?” which I feel I must ponder most these days.
This is a time fraught with inordinate fear. I have learned a helpful acrostic for fear “False Evidence Appearing Real”. F.D.R. once famously said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Those were perilous times and there were real dangers, but he was warning the populous not to be overcome by their fear. A sober honest look at our challenges will allow us to make wise decisions in order to face the challenges of today.
We need a healthy dose of truth to settle and combat our fears. Pilate’s question is an apt one for me. My dad used to accuse me of “flying off the handle” when I overreacted in an irrational manner. Too many are “flying off the handle” today. Some of this is based on wrong information which has led to weird hoarding on the one hand and others glibly avoiding ‘social distancing’ because of their perceived invulnerability! We need a heaping dose of truth!
When it comes to our health it is best to listen to health professionals rather than Facebook posts or pundits. But there is a greater need for truth than these rational voices can provide, and our inspiration, Pilate, shows us the way.
My point is not just that he asked the question “What is truth?” but to whom he asked it. Pilate didn’t realise it, but he asked the question to the only human that could ever truly answer it. James encourages us when we lack wisdom to ask God and this is the example of Pilate.
Facts only arm us so far, the real battle with fear is in our hearts and minds. I am following Pilate’s example and asking God what is true. What are my feelings and are they based on faith or fear? Am I living in trust or disbelief? As I examine these questions God helps me realise that many of my feelings around fear are based on things appearing real to me which are patently false.
I read in Psalm 23 that though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. Recently I heard the story of a pastor driving his children home from the funeral of their mother. He was grappling with a way to encourage them when a semi passed them and for a moment they were in the shadow of that huge truck. He asked his children if they would rather be ‘run over’ by the shadow or the actual truck? Jesus was ‘run over’ by the actual semi as “He became sin that knew no sin” so that we need only pass through its shadow. “Death where is thy sting? O’ Grave where is thy victory”
Let’s follow Pilate’s example of washing hands and let us honestly seek God’s truth in our every situation.
I was in on an online meeting, this week, with the Director of threshold and the Board members to whom I am accountable. We discussed the idea that the economic consequences of this time might have real impact on our ministry. This is especially challenging for Street Hope Saint John as we are on the verge of expanding our ministry by opening Threshold House as early as this fall. We are trusting God and advising our supporters of this need for continued and growing support.
The truth is “God is good, all the time!”