By Asst Ps Patrick Chan Yin
Last month the COVID situation in Singapore seemed to have gotten better and with fewer restrictions, people eventually came back to church. But within a few weeks, Mr. COVID bounced back even stronger and now the daily COVID cases are by the thousands and some of the restrictions are in force again. Oh no! Here we go again! It feels like we are on a roller coaster, doesn’t it? Will there be an end to all this? Sorry, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, COVID is here to stay and we just have to learn to live with it and manage our fears and worries.
No matter what happens around us in Singapore or in the world, we are told in Scriptures that God is still with us. Isaiah 43:1b-2 says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
In these two verses, God reminds His people, through the prophet Isaiah, NOT TO FEAR. Why? Because He has redeemed His people before, He knows us by name, and we are His (v. 1b).
Notice also that verse 2 says WHEN, not IF you pass through the waters and WHEN, not IF you walk through the fire. In this ‘fallen’ world, we WILL experience trials, tribulations and hardships. Jesus promises that in this world we WILL have trouble. But, He also tells us to “take heart! Because He has overcome the world” (John 16:33).
We sometimes forget that THIS world is NOT our home. Our home is in Heaven. We will not experience that perfect, “painless” rest in faith while here on Earth. But, we will someday! We have a glorious inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. Jesus went to prepare a place for us in Heaven. The Father’s House has many rooms (cf. John 14:2-4). We need to be reminded to keep our eyes on the “unseen,” our focus should be on the eternal.
And, in the meantime, we need to be reminded that God has NOT left us – He will never leave us nor forsake us (cf. Deut. 31:6). He is walking with us through these difficult times. He is steady and trustworthy even if the COVID situation looks disconcerting! He is the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort (cf. 2 Cor. 1:3-4). He cares about what is going on in our lives. He wants to comfort us and settle us and fill us with His perfect peace (cf. John 16:33a; Phil. 4:7).
And, no matter how “bad” things look like, our sweet, tender, merciful God will NOT let the waters overtake us or the flames burn us. Turn to Him! Trust Him! Take His hand!
Prayer: “Father God, thank You for Your grace and mercy. Thank You that You comfort us when we feel scared, anxious, and unsettled. Lord, thank You that not only will You not allow the waters to overtake us, but that You would hold us by the hand, while we walk through them. We love You, Lord. We praise You, Jesus. Please help us “not to be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to You.” (Phil. 4:6, ESV). Abba Father, wrap your arms around us. Help us through these uncertain times. Guide and protect us as we go out and come in our homes. We ask all this in the precious name of our Saviour, Jesus, Amen!”