In a world full of fear, inundated with negative news, people are desperate for hope. Every day we hear about bad things happening. Now we are facing the triple threats of the coronavirus pandemic, economic recession and climate change.
People's lives and livelihoods are at stake and we are moving into uncharted territory. To counter these threats we are being forced to adopt severe measures.
Schools and universities are being closed for a period of time. Conferences, sporting events and concerts are being deferred or cancelled. Major travel restrictions are in place globally.
We are being told not to shake hands with people; not to go to work if we have a runny nose; void crowded areas if you are over 60 or have health problems.
Also, we are being asked to self-isolate for a 14 day period if we believe we may have come in contact with somebody who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
These restrictions are unprecedented in our generation. One needs to go back over 100 years to the Spanish flu of 1918 to find similar restrictions in place.
But this turmoil and upheaval in the world provides a wonderful opportunity for Christians to stand out and showcase their joy and faith in the Lord.
Where our hope is
A few weeks ago at church I felt the Lord say,
"Now is the time to sing.
"Do not put your hope in a cure for the Coronavirus.
"Do not put your hope in the share market recovering.
"Do not put your hope in worldly possessions.
"Your hope is in the Lord."
Then I saw a picture of a large cruise ship laden with people. Everyone on board the ship was singing with joy. Because the people on the ship were singing in unity, the ship was able to sail through rough waters unhindered.
My interpretation of the picture was that the Lord was saying that now is the time for the Church to be unified and joyful. Now is the time for us to stand up and display the fruits of the Spirit.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Now is not the time for us to be fearful.
2 Timothy 1:7
"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."
We do not need to be frightened . We are called to shine when faced with insurmountable problems in a dark world.
It is easy to get caught up in the panic. Instead, let's fall back on God's promises.
I take particular comfort in this psalm:
Praise the Lord.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands.
Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn will be lifted high in honour.
The wicked will see and be vexed,
they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
Let us stand out for our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Let us stand up unified as a Church.
This is time for a harvest.
Courtesy of Press Service International