We find ourselves in a time of isolation and ruptured routine. The world health crisis has affected every one of us. Consequently, something at the core of my being is searching for solid ground. Life’s circumstances have changed radically, in a way that threatens my inner security. Without knowing the ultimate purpose of my life, I can begin drowning in the waves of Corona.
The Pandemic and the Soul
Mental health statistics provide a sobering picture of the situation. Calls to suicide hotlines are spiking. With the headline “Pandemic of loneliness, anxiety: Crisis hotline says suicide calls have doubled,” The Times of Israel, on October 30, 2020, reported “an unprecedented level of suicide calls — and many of them are from people who did not have previously diagnosed mental health issues before the pandemic started.”
The Covid-19 Alert website states that “Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones…(leading to) increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety.”
This brings us back to the question of life’s purpose. Is life random? If my body is subject to the whims of a runaway virus, where can I find an anchor in this uncontrollable storm? Why am I here?
Returning to our Origin
At the outset of the Genesis account, we are given a simple yet profound answer.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it’” (Genesis 1:26-28, emphasis added).
Clearly, inventing us was not some afterthought. Slow down and absorb: The eternal Maker of Heaven and Earth—who has just finished spreading out the universe—is now describing human beings as carrying His image! Two words are used here in the Hebrew text. One is tzelem/צלם from which we get the modern Hebrew word for camera. We are not God. But just as a photograph reflects the image of its subject, we reflect the original content of the picture. The other word is d’mute/דמות, variously translated as likeness, resemblance, or pattern.
So, I am fashioned to reflect the nature of God. Wow. Sobering. Phenomenal. If I allow this fact to penetrate my mental/emotional framework, I emerge from the threats of depression, anxiety, fear, and confusion with new clarity.
What is the measure of my life? Of yours? It is that we are made in the image of God. The Apostle Peter says we are “partakers in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). My anchor in the storm is that I am in a cooperative relationship with God, participating in His eternal enterprise. This fact supersedes the unpredictable circumstances around me.
May the same Spirit, by which man was originally created, impart a fuller grasp of who we are, that we may not only survive, but flourish in these times.
This article originally appeared in the Oasis newsletter, December 2020, and reposted with permission.