It did get me thinking.
The kids are starting to go back to school.
My husband is starting to work regular hours.
I am finishing classes in the next few weeks at the university I teach at.
For me, things are getting better.
I looked at the art work again.
It depicted a somber looking male face that might have been the artist's hasty self-portrait, or a stylized Christ, or even Che Guevara for all I know.
The image was hard to decipher, but the message wasn't; the artist's bleak outlook was crystal clear.
No better days ahead.
Nothing to look forward to.
No cause for wonder, and certainly none for worship.
Even though I know better, the words made me sad.
Not that they might be true, but that someone --anyone--might think so. Because it's going to get a lot better than this. My life is improving. Why not this person?
I'm not sure what your present circumstances might be...these days the odds are better-than-average they are discouraging.
Life in general.
Maybe sickness or death or unemployment or bankruptcy or a broken marriage or a wrecked business or a wayward child--or something I can't imagine--consumes your every waking thought.
And maybe it's tempting to believe that nothing will ever change, that there is no hope left, and that you have nothing to long for, dream of, pray for.
Maybe the voice of the enemy is whispering despair in your ear, telling you that it's time to give up, that hope is absurd, and that tomorrow is sure to bring nothing but more of the same.
But that voice is lying. There is hope in the world.
Nearly 2000 years ago a band of followers of a Nazarene teacher came to see him for who he really was: God.
God in flesh, God in person, God who, as Eugene Peterson said, "moved into the neighborhood."
He lived and died before his followers' eyes.
And He kept showing up, raised somehow and amazingly new, even with his scars.
"Wait in Jerusalem" he told them before he died, "for the gift that was promised to you."
Some of them were probably so confused and frightened they just wanted to go home to business-as-usual, whatever that business might be.
Others were itching to move up, for a political coup.
Some for a prominent place in a new movement. Surely there was one, or even a few, who had decided "This is as good as it gets."
The one who died for them would keep on living--and he had big plans in mind that involved them.
But first he filled their tiny waiting room with a blazing hurricane of the Holy Spirit's presence.
Then, and only then, they had what they would need to turn the world upside down on their Lord's behalf.
But even that mighty gift was not as good as it gets.
One day, Christ will come again and make all things new...even us.
He will defeat his arch enemy once-for-all, administer perfect justice, and reign forever.
He will undo the curse and he will undo this virus!
He will reward his servants.
He will usher in a new heaven and a new earth.
His rightful, beautiful, perfect kingdom will have no end.
And that, my graffiti-splashing doom-sayer, will truly be as good as it gets.
No one's ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it - what God has arranged for those who love Him. (I Corinthians 2:9, The Message.)
And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father. (Philippians 2:11, ESV)