What is the most common response to the question “how are you?”? “OK,” “good,” “hanging in there,” “not bad,” are all typical responses. But I’ve found that #1 is “Fine.” Personally, I got so tired of people coming out of church responding to my question “how are you?,” by simply answering “fine.” So I redefined the word. The “F” stands for “fouled up,” the “I” for “insecure,” the “N” for “neurotic,” and the “E” for “erratic.” It took some time, but soon people stopped saying “fine.” As a side benefit, visitors could often be identified by their “fine” response. And at other times it became an open invitation for possible Pastoral intervention and care.
Now granted, sometimes “fine” doesn’t mean I am “fouled up,” “insecure,” “neurotic,” and “erratic”. We’ve all been there at one time or another. The Coronavirus certainly has and can make us feel that way, especially as the days drag on. But let’s not forget that what we feel we can best be described as “fine,” may it more importantly bring to mind the multitude of promises from God for each and every element of “fine.” Fouled up? “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) Insecure? Jesus promises “Lo, I will be with you always to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Neurotic? “Be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) “Erratic?” “It is to your advantage that I go….the Helper will come to you…” (John 16:7,8) I read somewhere that there are no less than 366 “Do not be afraid” promises that God makes to us in His Word, one promise for each day, and one more for a leap year.
No doubt the pandemic has “pushed our buttons” as we are being pushed to a new normal. The Good News is we are already part of the “new normal,” brought to us by the sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And we are more than “fine” because of the promises of Our Father, and the redeeming work of Christ and the presence of the “One who comes to walk along side of us.” As we face the challenges that yet lay ahead, let’s continue to check in with our brothers and sisters in ministry, being concerned not only with their physical, mental and spiritual well being, but the wellbeing of their spouses and families. “Bear with one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)