There is a lot of fear, panic, uncertainty and unknowns that we are experiencing in the face of the coronavirus epidemic. Many people are also rallying together in light of this situation to help their communities in new ways to ensure social distancing. And I personally am thanking all of those individuals who are working around the clock to fight this virus and help those who are ill, vulnerable and in need. I am not a scientist, nor a healthcare worker, nor anyone with a particularly strong influence. I did not want to add my voice to the noise that is already prevalent online, but I could not hold back from sharing my hope at a time when things are looking hopeless.
When I started blogging, my aim was to share the good news of Jesus in the middle of my suffering. Today, I still believe that God is good in the middle of the storms and trials of life and that because of Jesus Christ, we have a hope that goes beyond all of the darkness and sickness that we are witnessing today in the West and across the world. For many people, suffering is part of their daily life.
This pandemic has brought many of us to a standstill and I pray it will cause us to reflect more deeply on the meaning and purpose of our life. As someone shared this last week, ‘This virus has reminded us that we are all human and what little control we really have’.
‘The sense of fear that assaults human nature may itself be regarded as God gently knocking at the door of our life, reminding us that we are but tenants on a short-term lease. We have to come to terms with the inevitable; God, in his grace, has allowed the fear of death to lead to the joy of forgiveness, the discovery of Jesus Christ, and the hope of eternal life.’ Alister McGrath (from his book ‘Intellectuals Don’t Need God & other Modern Myths’, p. 46)
As we take each day as it comes, staying indoors to help our healthcare teams and stop the spread of the virus, there is another voice worth paying attention to – God’s. When we open up the Bible or read it on an app/online, we can encounter truths that have withstood plagues and have provided comfort and wisdom in times of need, from war zones, prisons, hospital beds and more. When we seek God, we will find Him when we are seeking Him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV). Why not start by reading the Gospel of John?
I have been spending time reading from the Psalms. Psalm 46:1 (NIV) says, ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’ This is worth remembering in the days and weeks ahead. Actually, read the whole of Psalm 46! For me, I have been looking over Psalm 91 a lot – why not read it with me and pray today that you will know God as a refuge and fortress, that He can be trusted, that He is faithful and that He has saved us through Jesus Christ.
Psalm 91 NIV
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honour him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.’