I have many misgivings about the edicts and behaviour being manifested at the present time. The most frequent thought I have as I listen to portentous pronouncements curtailing freedom and watch hysterical behaviour in shops is ‘the whole world’s gone mad!‘ The panic, hysteria, fear and frenzy all around, so blithely adopted by hordes of people, beggars belief. I can’t see how these responses achieve anything positive, but the domino effect causes stability and normality to topple over all too quickly. Rational thought, reasoned arguments and quiet faith seem to be abandoned at the door of life in 2020.
I don’t pretend to know anything about Covid-19 or to have any expert advice on what should, could, or will be done. I do, however, know that God has not changed, and have no desire to abandon a faith that has survived plagues, pestilences, disasters and wars. The adage ‘God’s on the throne: all’s well with the world’ may seem trite and simplistic, but that fact is that God is still God, no matter what’s wrong with the world. He hasn’t changed, no matter what disasters lurk beside us to trip us up and shatter our lives.
This present climate reminds us of our hatred of uncertainty, our desperate need to feel in control of our lives (even if that’s down to how many toilet rolls we own) and our insecurity when we face a troubled future. I see a loss of control as something to be embraced, not shunned. It’s actually how we’re supposed to live anyway: one day at a time, trusting God for our daily bread, our daily needs, ‘care-free in the care of God’, as the Message version puts Luke 12:24.
Similarly, our hatred of uncertainty can be channelled into the things that remain certain: the unchanging nature of God, the truths that form the bedrock of our lives. All other ground is sinking sand.
Facing a troubled future is no new thing for the Christian, but we take heart from Jesus’s encouragement that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Ultimately, we have an eternally secure future in the hands of a God who has conquered sin and death. There really is nothing for the Christian to fear.
So how do we respond to the uncertainty, fear and panic that are gripping our world (and which may prove to be even deadlier than the virus itself)? We need to respond with faith and love and live with hope.
Faith looks beyond the visible to the One who reigns over all. Love takes us beyond our desperate need to control, fix and manage our own lives and allows us to see beyond the present situation. Living with hope means we do not have to embrace paranoia or panic; instead, we can wait for the Lord in quietness and trust.
J. John speaks of our faith giving us sanity, stability and serenity. We serve the God of reality who provides respite and refuge in times of trouble. In Him, we find all we need. In Him, we find the grace and strength to carry on, no matter what.
Let’s be light and salt to our world now – showing people the grace and love of God and always being prepared to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ. Maybe that way others too can be led to know Christ and can find freedom from fear and set foot on the path to eternal life.