perception-vs-reality.mp3. Cheryl reads the audio version

The entire world has been brought to its knees! Community is suspended. Our routines are displaced and our hearts are unsettled. How could this happen in our scientifically elite civilization? As we reel from the blow, we notice that our uncertain situation is being shamelessly appropriated to advance various agenda. The hype is palpable, the newscasting is theatrical, the politicians predictably partisan. We have been so conditioned to distrust the media circus that it is hard to accurately assess the situation. The filters of hate/defense of the system bias the reporting. Then there is the social media that drives so much of our perception, and although anecdotal evidence and personal opinion are all well and good, this is not a reliable measure to assess substantive truth. We are left in the clutches of time – the equalizer and revelator – to uncover the actual scope of our predicament. Most agree that the threat is real and the situation serious! Ask any medical professional who is on the front lines putting their health on the line in our service!

The failure of those tasked with our welfare has precipitated the response of businesses and private citizens alike to help out. It is heartwarming to see the caring responses of communities rising to the crisis. Neighborhood groups with creative activities to bolster spirits, churches assisting with pressing needs, seamstresses making masks for the health care workers, police and fire stations ordering hundreds of meals from at risk restaurants, people buying gift cards from small businesses to keep them afloat, people picking up groceries for their elderly neighbors….. I look forward to hearing an avalanche of heart-warming stories of kind-hearted people prioritizing others.

Forgive me, but this whole situation is just too obviously analogous to our universal soul pandemic to ignore- the reality clouded by perception. Misinformation, resistance, derision, cultural condescension and deterioration, insistence on opinion, and venomous denunciation circle like vultures around the message of rescue. The additives of apathy, confusion, distraction and distrust cloak the urgency of our true condition. Add to that the failure, hypocrisy or annoying insistence of the messengers, and we have a recipe for disaster. The ‘fake news reporters’ tell us we are ok, we are all in the same boat, not a big deal. Truth as revealed by Jesus, however, warns that we have all been infected by a deadly virus for which He is the cure, if only one dares to believe it. Despite skeptical uncertainty, each of us has a soul-hint that we were made for something more than the material world. I read a quote from Dallas Willard that brought perspective: “You are a never-ceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe. It is important to think about what you’ll be doing in ten thousand years to prepare for this now.”

Question is, what do we fear more – a virus that can kill the body or the ‘one who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell’? Our life is more than the externals, it is a treasure with an eternal destiny that we decide. The thought of standing entirely alone before the One Who both formed us and died for us is a terrifying but inevitable prospect. We try not to think about that. The voices go off in our heads about the god who is too good to judge anyone for their mistakes. Perception. There is no hell. Perception. I am not that bad. Perception. We just die and it’s over. Perception.

God’s opinion is truth. Reality. We have a prevailing condition that only He can cure. Reality. Trust is the key. Reality. Obedience is required. Reality. So – we have been warned – and not just by the easily dismissed TV evangelists, or our pesky friends or family – but by Jesus Christ Himself. “You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it—through him. Any man who believes in him is not judged at all. It is the one who will not believe who stands already condemned, because he will not believe in the character of God’s only Son. This is the judgment—that light has entered the world and men have preferred darkness to light because their deeds are evil.“ John 3:17-19 jbp Reality!

We need to dial down the din of our personal “mainstream media hacks” and tune in to the One Who destroys illusion and replaces it with life on a higher plane. Perception is a killer. Reality is a delight!