Things are getting better. In many places the pandemic numbers are improving. We are having in-person services, and we don’t need masks as often. It is such a relief to see people’s faces and hug the ones we love. Part of me cries out to be completely done with this pandemic, and yet another part of me knows that it isn’t completely over.
When Noah was in the ark (according to the literal story in Genesis 6-9), he survived 40 days and nights of rain, and then the rain stopped. Many people think of the flood as having lasted 40 days, without realizing that after the rain stopped, the flood continued. After another four months, the waters receded, and the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. In a couple more months, the tops of the mountains became visible and in another month, Noah could open the window, and yet another month take the covering off the ark. Noah opened up the ark gradually, and he and his family were in the ark for more than a year.
Noah’s flood represents the trials or temptations of our spiritual life. The waters taking so long to dry up pictures how long it takes us to let go of our old ideas and values after we have been through a crisis of faith. “When our trials are over, we experience a kind of wavering, ... a vacillation between truth and falsity.... When our previous way of life, which was no better than animal life, breaks down in times of trouble, we cannot help faltering between truth and falsity after the trouble has passed.” (Secrets of Heaven 848)
Perhaps a use of the pandemic is to give us a better understanding of our spiritual journey. After one wave of the pandemic, another comes. After the original virus, another variant appears. And certainly this will not be the last pandemic to afflict the human race. Moreover, viruses are one of many troubles that afflict us. “We are not regenerated by one trial, but by many. For very many kinds of evil have made the delight of our former life, that is, have made our old life; and it is impossible for all these evils to be suddenly and simultaneously mastered.” (Secrets of Heaven 8403)
Yet for all the trouble the pandemic has caused, it does not stop us from reflecting on the fact that life in this world is not important compared to life in heaven. To those who believe they will live after death, “the other life is the whole of their thought and affection, and the world is nothing in comparison.” (Secrets of Heaven 2682) I am immensely grateful that the Lord has revealed the nature of life after death and the path to eternal life with Him.