The words we use to talk about life after Covid, and the words the Bible uses to talk about life after death:

“I can’t wait to really see people again.”

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.” (1 Cor 13:12)

We see each other through masks now, and one day (relatively soon) we will see each other without masks again — but one day (or “the youngest day” as Mockingbird Patron Saint Robert Capon calls it) we will see each other face to face. No more biases, no more prejudices, no more ill-informed judgments: just human-to-human tragedies faced head-on by the grace of God.

“It’ll be so good to walk around without fear and anxiety.”

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps 34:4)

We walk around in fear, unsure of the most right thing to do to prevent the spread of a disease. When the virus is behind us, we will instead walk around in fear of saying the wrong thing or not being good enough, or fear of one another, or that generic underlying fear of death. But one day, we will walk confidently, at peace with ourselves and our neighbors, and fear will have no hold.

“I’m ready for a time when I won’t be afraid for my loved ones.”

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4)

We worry for our loved ones, and we grieve the losses we’ve experienced this year. When the disease is abated, we will still grieve our loved ones. One day, our tears will be wiped from our faces.

“After this, everything will be different.”

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye … the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (1 Cor 15:52)

When the severity of the pandemic finally ends, our story will be in history books. We will pull out the dusty masks and tell our future relatives about this. We will still hold the scars (for the young widow, the scars will be very deep). Life will return to some semblance of what we remembered before. One day, we will be raised imperishable, changed and healed from every afflicting grief.

It gives me great comfort to know that God’s Word is written on our hearts, coming out of our mouths without us realizing. That is how wonderfully passive we are in our hope. The Word is in us without us doing a thing, like the blessed mother of Jesus herself.

“The hopes and fears of all the years” are met in God. Our longing for change, this year and every year, is in every haunting fear. And every haunting fear is honored by the incarnate Word who is above all, through all, in all, Emmanuel, God with us.