Coronavirus Diaries: Barn Burning

My family tried unsuccessfully to head outside in the dark and see the International Space Station. Other folks on my social media feed had caught sight of the station as it orbits, but unfortunately, our family was unsuccessful on three different tries. The skies were too overcast, too cloudy, in our area – plus the spotlights on several houses in our culdesac made it impossible to see if the glimmers in the sky were something spacial or merely our eyes being flash-blinded!

Isn’t that how life goes sometimes? There’s something else we should be seeing, but can’t. Something we’re looking for but can’t quite find. In the parables of Jesus, it’s compared to lost sheep or lost coins, a sense that something is not in order – but that when it’s found, celebration ensues.

Seventeenth-century Japanese poet and samurai Mizuta Masahide once wrote, “Barn’s burnt down. Now I can see the moon.” Now, I can’t say for certain what he meant because I don’t read Japanese but I think I get the gist. Sometimes, there are things in front of us – in this narrative, a barn – that is so big that it blocks out the natural beauty or subject we should be attentive to in that moment. If barns were the places where the grain was stored – the future security or fortune of a business or person – then the loss of the fortune actually results in the individual now seeing what they should’ve been pursuing all along.


The world – America, certainly – has had its expected trajectory ripped out of its grasp. Suddenly, terrifyingly, unexpectedly. (I’m not arguing that this is all a good thing.) But what if we have been blinded to what we should have seen all along, and now, the blinders have been removed, like a blind person whose sight is restored. What if the schedule we hold to, the financial pursuits, the lust for power and bigger opportunities, what if all of these things were “barns” blocking us from “the moon”? What if we’re not supposed to be growing in awareness for how blessed we really are, with the beauty of natural creation and the community of those around us who we’ve taken for granted?

What is it that God is asking you to see about your “old” life from ten days ago, to let it burn, so that you can see the new, better life that God has in mind for you?

What if we don’t come out of this … better?

“This third I will put into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” (Zechariah 13:9)

Rev. Jacob Sahms


About Jacob Sahms

I'm searching for hope in the midst of the storms, raising a family, pastoring a church, writing on faith and film, rooting for the Red Sox, and sleeping occasionally. Find me at,, and the brand new
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