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3 May 2020 (Pastoral Page) GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH

By Deaconess Yvonne Eu

In the midst of all the chaos during the pandemic in the world, we read bad news after bad news. With the Circuit Breaker extended until June, it is tough on many, especially those who has to juggle work with looking after young children at home.

How are you feeling? Is staying at home driving you crazy or are you enjoying the comfort of your home? It was reported in the Straits Times that during this period of the Circuit Breaker, it was estimated that we have a thousand ‘rough sleepers’ in our tiny island of Singapore. They may be foreigners who have lost their jobs during this period, or they are locals who usually stay by the beach or sleep in void decks for whatever reason. The ‘rough sleepers’ are those that do not have a place to take refuge during this ‘Circuit Breaker’ period. This might be a foreign thought as many of us often take having a shelter over our heads for granted.

In Psalms 46:1, we are told that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”. In this verse alone, God has promised to be our refuge, our strength, and our help.

God did not send us to a place to take refuge. He said He is our refuge. The word “refuge” gives us a sense of resting in a place of trust, an impenetrable shelter. God is our refuge, He told us to take shelter in Him. Even when what we are familiar with, is now topsy-turvy with the pandemic happening in the world, God promises to hide us in His shelter. He is also “a very present help in trouble.” He is a God who is always available and always accessible. The word “strength” tells us that we can rely on His might when we feel weak and defenseless. He is, right now, everything we need, and He will be everything we need in the future.

On a personal level, I would like to share that when my son came back from London and was tested positive with Covid-19, Stanley and I were pretty calm. That was because we knew God was in control and we can take refuge in Him. God was a very present help during our 2 weeks quarantine at home. We had many family and friends from our church community buying groceries and meals for us; calling us to check if we are doing fine. God provided us with more than what we expected! Our prayer was for Daniel to be home by Easter, and he was discharged one day before Sunday! We rejoiced as we could celebrate Easter as a family together.

As a church, how can we respond to what is happening around us?

As Clementi Bible Centre, we have chosen to open our grounds to house the ‘rough sleepers’ during this ‘Circuit Breaker’ period. We call it the CBC Shelter. This shelter is jointly set up by The Bible Church and Mount Carmel BP Church. We are glad we can reach out to our community to provide a cover and food to those who are in need. This is a very meaningful initiative as it allows us to engage our community with God’s love. We thank God for the volunteers who helped with the setup of the shelter in our church and also those on site daily to manage the shelter. We would also like to thank those who donated items needed to set up the shelter in the first place - like fans & sleeping bags. Also, to those who gave monetarily to make this shelter happen.

As a follower of Christ, how can we respond during this uncertain period?

We need to trust that He is in control. When Moses took the Israelites out of Egypt, Pharaoh was afraid of the plagues that confronted his people more than the God of Moses. Pharaoh finally decided to let the Israelites leave when the firstborn of both people and animals were struck down and died. The Pharaoh did not fear God who sent the plagues but the plagues itself. Are you afraid of the Covid-19 virus and the situation that we are in? Are you able to proclaim: “In all things I place my trust in God"? My God is in control no matter what we face!

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