One of the highlights of my mornings used to be reading the paper with a cup of coffee. But nowadays, reading the paper is just heartwrenching. Stories of how the coronavirus has wreaked havoc in lives, economies, and the everyday routines we had taken for granted are nearly all there is to read.
It’s now reached a point in the worst-hit areas where, due to supply shortages, doctors actually have to choose to give treatment to those most likely to survive. Nameless bodies are being thrown into mass graves with no burial services or loved ones around. The numbers keep increasing steadily, day by day.
But this virus has brought in another sinister factor that has caused even more harm than people realise: fear. It’s amazing how paralysing and contagious fear can be — especially in the face of the unknown.
As Christians, what can we do about it? How can we help?
There’s one character in the Bible that keeps coming back to me during this time. A young, orphaned, Jewish girl named Esther had the one-in-a-million opportunity to become the Queen of Persia. But, as the story goes, wicked Haman convinced the king to issue a decree, calling for the annihilation of all the Jews in Persia.
I’m sure when Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, told her that the fate of the Jewish people lay in her hands, she must have been terrified. But I love Esther 4:14, where Mordecai encourages her by saying, “Who knows? Maybe you were born for royalty for such a time as this.” And, as we know, at the end of that beautiful story, that one girl did make a difference in helping to save her people.
You and I were born for such a time as this, in this very moment in history. Something of this nature happens only once a century, and the full extent of its repercussions aren’t yet known.
So what should be our response at this time? Pray, pray, pray — without ceasing. We are so privileged to be able to come into the presence of the King of Kings, who is not only the Creator of the entire universe but also our very own Father, and plead for mercy. Every prayer makes a big difference, so each of us has a very vital role to play. Don’t let our insecurities or fears or lack of faith stand in the way of doing the work we’re called to do.
We are so privileged to be able to come into the presence of the King of Kings, and plead for mercy
God warns us in Ezekiel 22:30: “I looked for a man among them who would build the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so that I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” Sometimes, we really do underestimate the power of wonder-working prayer.
But look at James 4:16: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Notice how it refers to just one person. Elijah was just one man who prayed earnestly that it would not rain for three years, and God answered his prayers. We may think it was because he was a prophet and he was special, but we read that “Elijah was a man just like us” (James 5:17). If one person could make such a difference, how much more so when we pray together as families, communities, and churches?
Let us pray for the sick and the dying — that they would have an opportunity to know Christ and know peace. Let us pray for the doctors and medical staff who are risking their lives to save others, without thinking of themselves. Let us pray for the governments, that they would have the wisdom to know how to handle the situation with care. And let us pray for each other, that our faith would not falter and that God would protect our communities and families.
We are called to be torch bearers, passing on the light and the peace that’s been given to us. A little candle in a room full of darkness shines its light, not worrying about how small it is.
A little candle in a room full of darkness shines its light, not worrying about how small it is
Remember the servant girl to Naaman, the great commander of Syria? She had no might of her own, but she had great faith and courage to speak up and give her master hope when he had lost everything due to leprosy. And because she did, he was healed and something even more amazing happened: Naaman believed that there was no God in all the earth other than the One whom Elisha served (2 Kings 5:15). Imagine what would have happened if she had chosen to stay quiet!
Let this pandemic not bring unhealthy fears, but rather a fear of God, that He is mighty and the only One worthy to be worshipped. Let this break down the secret idols in our lives and help us draw closer to Him. Let it build our faith and help us reach out to encourage the faltering and the lost. Uncertainties may loom ahead, but one thing is certain: God is still on the throne. Nothing happens without His knowledge or His consent. Virus or no virus, He’s still got the whole world in His Hands.
Psalm 146:5: “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.”
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