Do you know the name Kevin Garnett?
I didn’t until I looked up the rebound stats for the NBA. Kevin Garnett is in the top ten of all time best players for rebounds. As I looked over the list of “top players” in rebound history, I only recognized a few of the names. Rebounders aren’t always the best-known people on the court, but they are crucial to winning the game.
When I think of the word rebound, I usually think of a basketball game.
At least that was true until this weekend.
I had been dealing with the new strain of COVID and was feeling great until last Saturday night when I realized I wasn’t. Sure enough, I’m in that number of people who ended up with “Covid Rebound.”
The word rebound can be both a verb and a noun, but the definitions led me to consider the meanings in a spiritual context. So, as I sit and sniffle with my rebound COVID, I thought I would share those thoughts in this week’s blog post.
Does America need to rebound?
The Cambridge Dictionary provided this definition for rebound:
- Used as a verb: “to return to an earlier and better condition; improve” or “if prices, shares, etc. rebound, they increase in value again after a period when they were going down in value.
- Used as a noun: “an improvement in an economy or business activity after a difficult period of time.”
I was listening to some political poll numbers on the evening news and those numbers made it clear that most Americans don’t think things are going well. It occurred to me that in many ways this nation is enduring “Covid Rebound” too. Our culture has not yet fully recovered either.
I watched the pictures from the California floods and wondered what it will take to help that state rebound from its losses. The pictures from Maui are surreal. How long will it take for Maui to rebound?
Our spiritual condition
As Christians, we don’t like to talk about the fact that God allows some incredibly difficult circumstances to impact our world and our lives. It isn’t popular to speak of God’s judgment, but for those of us who know biblical truth, we know God’s judgment is as much a reality in Scripture as God’s love. I watch the news footage and often think that our nation is lacking the abundant blessing of God. Americans have more than most, but that has been true of a lot of nations in world history that no longer feel that way today.
God told the prophet Isaiah, “I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lᴏʀᴅ, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7). I love God, and I know and believe that God is love (1 John 4:8). I also know that the perfect love of our heavenly Father wants only the best for his children; therefore, his love will include discipline for those times we need a spiritual rebound.
The book of Romans is a powerful way for Christians to understand and apply theology to the physical and spiritual conditions of this world. Paul was brilliant, and he wanted the church to live with some important spiritual realities.
He said, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:19–21).
God wants us to live our best life on earth. God has promised to bless all that he is able to bless, both now and eternally. If we are not experiencing God’s abundant blessings, then we must accept the fact that God isn’t able to abundantly bless some of our choices.
A spiritual rebound
A favorite promise in Scripture is located in Romans 8 as well. Paul told us that we can know “that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We are called to notice the “hand of God” so that we can join our lives to his will, which is his good and perfect purpose.
Every person, nation, culture, and church will end up making mistakes, even some significant mistakes. Covid came once and another virus could come in the future. Are we learning all we should from that season of world history that God allowed? Did we simply endure 2020, or did we become stronger, more obedient Christians whom God is more able to bless?
God said, “I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lᴏʀᴅ, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7). The great “I AM” is speaking to his children every day. Are we listening to all that God has allowed so that we can understand all he wants to do?
Living with wisdom is a path to God’s blessings
I have used my “Covid-quarantine” time to finish writing Wisdom Matters, the nightly devotional I believe I was called by God to create. I wanted people to end their day with a thought about God. I wanted people to end their year knowing more of God’s wisdom and living with his wisdom as their path to his blessings.
“Living with wisdom is a path to God’s blessings” is the theme for Wisdom Matters for the month of September. I take God’s words to the nation of Israel literally, as his word to our nation today. God said, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
That verse is wisdom for every Christian who wants to live a life God is able to bless. It is easy to watch the calamities that God has allowed and see them as God’s judgment on a nation that is not experiencing his blessings. Second Chronicles 7:14 is a sobering reminder that God’s blessings are contingent upon the lives and choices of his people. Before looking at the sins of the culture, God’s children must look closely at the sins in their lives. God said, “If my people . . . .” Paul said God can redeem things for our good if “we are called according to his purpose.”
We will rebound, “return to an earlier and better condition” and “increase in value again,” if we will return back to the foundations of our faith:
- Be called by God’s name.
- Humble ourselves.
- Seek God’s face.
- Return, or rebound, from our wicked ways, our ungodly choices.
If God’s people will rebound spiritually, we can toss the ball to God, and he has promised to score every point. He will forgive our sin and heal our land.
Kevin Garnett isn’t the biggest name in basketball unless you are looking for the top rebounders in NBA history. Wouldn’t you like to share his stats spiritually?
Our culture needs to rebound, and it is up to God’s people to make that happen.
To what holy purpose is God calling you today?