God wants ALL of us – because He MADE all of us and He LOVES all of us.
I have been reflecting on this latest NSW lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic because it most definitely feels like a terribly strange time to be alive!
Two years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea that churches and schools would be closed, and basic human rights and freedoms would be severely restricted by our Australian government. Two years ago, I would have thought it dystopic and fictional to propose a scenario where Australian citizens would need to apply to the government for PERMISSION to work or children would be locked out of classrooms without apology for half a year.
Two years ago, we lived in a very different world.
Now, I am not passing judgement about whether these restrictions to counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic improve or destroy our lives. I shall leave such debates to the politicians and economists and the minds that are far better equipped to negotiate the intricacies of balancing the health-system’s capacity and our freedoms.
Instead, what I would like to comment on is how definite everything is. We are not HALF locked down. We are locked down ALL the way. We cannot travel more than a certain number of kilometres. We cannot have a visitor to our homes. We cannot go to work. Our Churches are closed and gathering dust.
It is black and white. There is no grey area. These days, we cannot do things by half…
You are either an ESSENTIAL worker, or you are NOT an essential worker. If there is a funeral to be had, there are a certain number of people allowed to attend and if one extra person attends there will be a penalty. If you would like to get married – you CANNOT. If you would like to baptise your baby – you CANNOT. Children CANNOT attend school.
Now, I am not as worried about these things since my recent conversion – because I know that God turns everything to the GOOD and so I know that if He has allowed such a thing to come to pass there is good in it yet.
But, in watching this world unfold before my eyes, it occurs to me that this is a sort of reminder that God does not appear to like it when we do things in halves… He does not want HALF our love and He does not want HALF our commitment. He has no need of HALF our sacrifice. God wants ALL our effort! He is not worried about whether we can do it ALL well, but He does want us to give it our ALL and not a mere HALF our effort…
God says, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth” (Revelations 3:16).
The Book of Revelations is widely regarded as the most difficult Book of the Bible to understand. Written prophetically and at times metaphorically, it becomes a challenge to understand the meaning of the text. And yet, in it, God says, He will SPEW OUT those who are only in by half. He has no interest in those who are only happy to give a bit – and not the rest. God wants ALL of us – because He MADE all of us and He LOVES all of us.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux summarised this same sentiment so beautifully and clearly when she said, “You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.”
And so, as I reflect on the efforts that I make for my Lord and my God, it occurs to me that I should give everything that I have, because my Beloved cares for me, and He loves me, and I never need to leave anything in reserve for tomorrow…
Because, as Saint Francis de Sales said, “Be not miserable for what may happen tomorrow. The same Everlasting Father who cared for you today, will care for you tomorrow.”
And so, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow I can give and give and give and give EVERYTHING that I have in me to give – because I would not bear the pain of offending my Beloved by only offering Him HALF…
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.