“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:10-11 (ESV)
I travel a fair amount for work. Typically, I enjoy the trips I take. My travels allow me to see wonderful people and go to interesting places. Plus, by using a little common sense, I plan my trips so that I visit my programs in the southern states during the winter and my northern states in the spring or fall.
Lately, due to the closure of schools caused by the coronavirus, I have had the opportunity to learn about a less exciting part of travel: cancellation policies. Flights, hotel stays, rental cars; all needing to be cancelled. I’ve logged a few hours learning the ins and outs of how to cancel my travel plans. If there is a silver lining in all of this, it would be that the companies I deal with are being very willing to work with me to cancel without penalty.
Before I continue, allow me to state for the record that this is not me bashing this company. Their policies are very clear and upfront. I use them because they offer a great level of value, but the downside is they will not work with you to alter your arrangements unless you pay an additional fee for “travel insurance,” which I never do because it usually takes a pandemic to stop me from taking a trip.
Perhaps you have also experienced some cancellations in your life due to the coronavirus. Travel plans gone awry. Birthday or anniversary celebrations put on hold or held via Zoom. Maybe you had plans to have some work done at your house but the company you hired can’t do the work. Add to this the loss of sports, restaurants, bars, theaters, golf courses, shopping malls and church gatherings and suddenly you see that everyone is dealing with some form of a cancellation. In fact, as the church has entered Holy Week, there are some who are bemoaning the cancellation of Easter for the first time in our lifetime. To those people, I have a simple, one-word response:
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He was born of a virgin. He was true God and true man. He lived a life totally free of sin only to be betrayed, mocked, beaten, and finally executed by crucifixion. Three days later, He proclaimed victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil by rising from the dead. Yet despite having knowledge of this and faith in the salvation He won for us through this sacrifice, some dare to think that Easter is cancelled.
I knew we should have paid extra for the Holiday Insurance!
If I might offer a bit of clarification, it seems to me that for the first time in our lives, we’re dealing with the commercialization of Easter instead of Christmas. Every December we spend time reminding people that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” It’s designed to get us to think less about the presents, trees, lights, ornaments, cookies, pageants, and Santa and more about the birth of our Savior. Well, for many of us this year, we will get to experience a similar phenomenon where Easter will be devoid of egg hunts, bunnies, jellybeans, fancy hats and dresses, big breakfasts and bigger ham dinners. But despite the loss of these things, the tomb will be empty. The debt of our sinfulness will be paid in full by blood of the lamb. Satan’s defeat will be proclaimed in the heavens and the earth, and our coming resurrection remains assured.
Isaiah 55 provides a clear picture of the futility of trying to limit or eliminate the word of God. As our Creator, God’s will can not be denied. Give thanks to Him that because of His great love, we have the assurance that nothing our sinful world throws at us can prevent us from receiving the grace and mercy He bestows upon us.
May God bless you and your Easter celebration. Though it may be simpler than any you’ve ever experienced before, allow yourself the opportunity to focus more clearly than ever on the love that Christ shared WITH YOU on Good Friday and the prize He claimed FOR YOU this Easter morning.