Posted by: Kara Luker | January 1, 2021


After the festivities of December, which bring all kinds of delight but also constant busyness, I always feel a sense of restful gladness to step back into a quieter rhythm; one that creates space for reflection and writing. With the holidays behind me and the decorations packed away, it feels so good to sit in front of my computer – not to place yet another Amazon order or look up holiday recipes, but to reconnect with you, wish you a very belated Merry Christmas and pray that you are holding hope in both hands as we enter this new year.

We were able to have a sweet Christmas despite the craziness of the year, but it wasn’t without stress. On Christmas Eve, I found out that a dear friend of mine and several of her family members had been diagnosed with Covid. Before my grief over their Christmas cloud fully set in, my mind raced back to the birthday lunch my mom and I spent with her the week before. A pit formed in my stomach as I quickly determined that we too must be carrying the virus. 

I wasn’t too worried for myself, figuring that I have a pretty good chance of fighting it off, but for my 75 year old dad who struggles with a myriad of health issues and feels particularly vulnerable. And for my visiting brother who has been a picture of caution during the pandemic, willing to sacrifice comfort and convenience to follow every rule and recommendation out of a deep, active concern of contracting and spreading this troublesome virus. He only recently included our small family in his quarantine bubble and I was horrified by the idea that we would be the breach in his carefully maintained fortress. 

Truth be told, knowing my brother was coming had already caused me to scour my body (and my family’s) daily for evidence of the disease, paranoid that it might be quietly lurking. John’s tiredness one evening (after a long bike ride) followed by a single cough in the middle of the night drew a Covid diagnosis. As did my sinus headache (during some dry weather). And Chase’s flushed cheeks (after coming in from the yard one warm day). The meaning of each random “symptom” was only heightened after my brother’s arrival and friend’s diagnosis. 

As it turned out, my friend’s exposure was after we’d seen her, but I wanted to get tested to be sure, which was not an easy task during the holidays in a highly infected county. I finally found a clinic with availability where I got my nose swabbed and waited in the parking lot for results. Fifteen minutes later, the nurse reappeared with a smile, a hearty “Congratulations!” and a paper with my name on top and “negative” circled. A heavy weight slid off my shoulders and I let out a giddy “Woohoo!” out my car window. There was no need to break bad news to my dad or brother. No need to worry. I had my results in hand. Negative. Every symptom that followed could be dismissed. It felt like freedom. Of course I could still get Covid and I’m doing my best to be careful, but it was a picture of something far more final to me. 

We are all plagued with symptoms of sin, from the mildest anxiety to the most incapacitating addictions, and everything in between. When we scour our lives for these symptoms, looking to draw conclusions from them as I did with my body, we often realize with a pit in our stomach that we have been exposed to sin and contaminated by it, which makes it is oh-so-easy to diagnose ourselves: “Unclean.” “Unrighteous.” At least until a certain amount of time in quarantine has passed or we have made progress with our symptoms. But no freedom can come from accepting our self-diagnosis based on the things we see or feel on any given day.

We could spend our lives in this weighty uncertainty… or we could go to the Great Physician and get an actual diagnosis. The truth is that we all tested positive for unrighteousness based on the sin in our blood. But the day we accepted Jesus – and every single day thereafter – the undeniable, certified diagnosis with our name written on it is handed back: “Clean.” “Righteous.” Not because of the purity of our own blood or our own actions, but because of His. Oh yes, the symptoms of sin will still plague us, at least for a time, and we will be tempted to attribute meaning to them. But they will lose their power over us as we come to accept the finality of this diagnosis – that we have been made clean, once and for all.

The weight we’ve been carrying will slide off our shoulders as we receive a hearty “Congratulations!” and the reality of our freedom sets in. A “Woohoo!” out the car window is a good start, but I find myself doing a whole lot more rejoicing than that when I remember this truth and realize once again that I have been made wholly clean and wholly righteous. No wonder the gospel is called good news. I can think of none better. Happy New Year, my friends!

So, then, as through one offence to all men it is to condemnation, so also through one declaration of ‘Righteous’ it is to all men to justification of life… Romans 5:18


  1. Good news!!! Amen! ❤️❤️❤️

    • Thank you, Kelly! Love you!

  2. Wow! You nailed it again, Kara. Lots of really really good ones. This one is profound. Your Dad and Mom must be thrilled that you communicate so well and with such richness. Always a good read.

    Really good to talk with both Kenn and Joanie. Believing for him when it is hard for him to believe in himself with all the aches and pains.



    • Thank you, Paul! My dad mentioned talking to you… he is so grateful for your friendship. And, wow, how powerful to have a friend believing when your own belief falls short. You are the best!

  3. This is such a good correlation Kara… Happy new year dear one!

    • Thank you, Pam! Happy New Year to you too!

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