Everything we look at today, we are reminded of the coronavirus epidemic going on. Countries are shutting down their borders, schools are closed for weeks and the stock market is crashing. People are panic buying pasta, rice, cans of food and toilet paper. Whatever we see or watch is only causing more panic and fear. We have a cruise holiday booked for Easter and have started to wonder whether we will be able to go.
Coronavirus proves that even though humans are capable of so much and invented mind-boggling inventions we never believed could be possible, yet they still don’t know what’s around the corner and panic when they are not in control. People think that they can solve anything and there is always an answer, thus this is one of the reasons many don’t believe they need God anymore. However, a time like this tells me otherwise.
We are reminded that even without the coronavirus, life is fragile and we don’t know what the future holds for us. When we go through times of uncertainty and suffering, we can choose to become fearful, bitter and hostile towards others and God or open our hearts and minds to grow and learn to become more loving and understanding. God doesn’t cause conflict, viruses, disasters or the mess of the world. We decided to rebel against Him and go our own, separate way as we were convinced, we could do everything ourselves.
I don’t know about you but I can’t imagine a life without a God who gives me hope and whom I can trust. I have faced and continue to face many difficulties in my life and sometimes it is really hard to carry on but my strength is in Jesus, without Him I wouldn’t be able to push forward. If I let Him shape me, He doesn’t look at my imperfections but sees the potential of who I can become.
The passage I will be focusing on for my next sermon is based on the armour of God and talks about how our fight is against dark and evil powers. None of us are perfect and I continue to hurt people even though I don’t intend to. We can choose to express our dark side when faced with uncertainty and fear or share the hope and peace that we have within us through Jesus.
We can silence the negative voices in our head and not fall prey to the devil’s lies by using the belt of truth, staying positive in spite of the negativity that’s all around us and by encouraging others. I have realised that through suffering, I have become more negative which can also impact others around me but every morning we need to choose life over death and break the negativity that’s flooding our minds from every corner of our screens.
We hear of an increase of racism, hatred and xenophobia but rather giving into fear by using the breastplate of righteousness we can refuse to adapt to some of the sinful acts around us and stand up for the most vulnerable. Fear, worry and suffering can make people do or say unexplainable things, therefore we need to remember to forgive and forget just like Jesus continues to forgive us and does not remember our shortcomings. Instead of adding to fear at a time of chaos and hopelessness we have an opportunity to share the hope and peace that we have through Jesus by putting on the shoes of the gospel of peace. This is the time for the church to step out in word and in action. For example churches could help in physical ways by providing food, necessities and support to those in need.
In times of uncertainty we often doubt and question why things happen. God helps us in our unbelief when we choose to put our faith in Him in spite of our questions and doubts by using the shield of faith and covering our heart.
We can be distracted by so many ways and take our eyes off what really matters without the helmet of salvation. We need to remember that our fight has already been won and the price has been paid. God will not abandon us; we are His children.
It is important to spend time with others who can encourage and pray with us when we are struggling. God can talk to us individually through the sword of the spirit, the Bible, through prayer and through others if we open our hearts to hear His voice. By learning to listen to Him, He can guide us in how we can encourage and support others more through his Holy Spirit.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.