It’s a mixed of emotions within. Of sadness, of uncertainty, of thanksgivings, and of peace. Even if I cannot make a meaning of all these thoughts and emotions, I think for my sanity, this writing would be a good channel. Who knows God could use it to speak to someone out there.
First of all, of double-mindedness, slow to hear, and of hope. Something close to my heart (which I forgotten awhile). People are divided whether children is safe or unsafe from and in this COVID-19 thing. I am sad to see the actions of some people who put children’s life at risk. From the Bible’s perspective, children & women are among the vulnerable group of people whom God has special eyes on. What have we done to protect children from COVID-19? I am thinking of online learning (will explore more on that). It takes time & effort (a lot of them) to prepare and make a good online learning for children. I hope there’re people whom God anoints for this task.
Again on children, if this virus spread rapidly beyond what the world could contain, probably what happened in the generation of Moses and Israel 40 years in wilderness would happen in our time. A whole generation passed away, and new generation took over. What have we prepared for these children? I do hope we are preparing for a lot of God’s ways & instructions how to live.
Second thing, about faith & hope. It’s a very interesting topic. We can talk a lot and go wide and wild. Indeed it’s a wide and broad topic. And I’m glad that Jesus himself spend a lot consideration time & energy talking about this. It can’t be possibly done in one minute, 5 minutes, or even one sitting. It takes days, weeks, and even years. Because our slowness to hear and understand.
Just about two aspects of Faith that came to mind this morning. The first thing is the power against fear. Fear is real and it could capture anybody’s heart. God knows that and Jesus addresses that very often in his teachings. I failed many times. During his sermon on the mount, he told his followers not to be afraid of what they would eat or drink or wear, for Our Father in Heaven knows that we need all those things. During this global pandemic, I wonder and contemplate how to survive. And I am glad that He had made His promises to care and provide. I was reminded of the prophet Elijah, whom God cared during the 3 years of famine. How wonderful was God’s providence. He didn’t know what’ s next or when the next help will come from, but God kept him. In case I turned into disbelief on God’s goodness and power (Psalm 62:11), at the end of Elijah’s ministry, God showed him that he’s NOT the ONLY one. For God had reserved 7000 more people just like him (probably a figurative number of complete perfection that too many to count).
In his last hours with his 11 disciples, Jesus repeated several times these words,”Do not fear / let not your hearts be troubled, but believe in Me.” Indeed he knows fully human hearts. Nobody knows better than him. And He gave them His peace (John 14:27). But His peace doesn’t depend on us, human. His peace preceed our acceptance and proceed our failures. John 16:33 was spoken in the context he’s predicting all his disciples would be scattered each to their homes in fear. And in the midst of their fears, He spoke his peace into them. In a way, it’s given, not attained. His peace came before and in the presence of fear. And in His peace, will come His deliverance. Deliverance through tribulations, not deliverance from tribulations. He clearly said,”in this world you WILL have, but take heart I’ve overcome the world.”
This happened before the Holy Spirit dwells inside the 11 Apostles. When the Holy Spirit came, they’re indeed strengthened and spoke boldly just like Jesus. Which the whole promise of peace, abiding, and intimacy with God is only possibly by faith through the indwelling power of the Spirit (Romans 15:13).
What is the connection between the first and the second point? Love!
John seems going in circle. But his point is hard to be mistaken. We can only have peace in Jesus. And we can only in Jesus if we love him. And we can only love him if we obey his commandments. And again back we would have eternal life or life in abundance by believing in God & His Son Jesus Christ (John 17:3). And that’s the first and greatest commandment that God gave to Moses to gave to the children of Israel. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 speaks of two things, of our Hearing & Loving God. And that’s what we’re supposed to tell our children and the young generation. So how well do we hear God? Certainly with this COVID-19, I had thrown away almost all my ideas and plans. Everyday I throw away the next thing and asking God what he wants me to do. In a way, I no longer have a plan, but to wait and seek Him. It is humbling to see that I don’t have control over my life. I believe it’s God’s big microphone demanding people of this world to stop and listen. We’ve been planning and running life without Him. Yes we plan and pray, most the time asking Him to approve our agenda. James 5 instructs us that our life is like mist and we don’t know about tomorrow, let alone the next year.
Thirdly, my mind went back to Abraham, who’s known as friend of God and father of faith. I am thankful to God that Bible is very honest where it tells everything of our humanness. Abraham was a human too, and he failed big times in his faith and walk with God. But God is not limited by our failures and mistakes in life. Abraham pleaded with the Lord for Sodom & Gomorah for the sake of his young nephew Lot. Because God is God and He rules, He judged Sodom & Gomorah. However, the Bible tells us that God remembered Abraham (Gen 19:29) when He destroyed these cities. In those days, God kept his part of the bargain that He could not find 10 righteous people in the city. And what if today with the rampage of COVID-19 in various cities of the world, if there’re enough God’s children live & pray for God’s mercy? Would not God spare the lives of His children and the cities on their behalf?
I am reminded of a preacher long time ago, in time like this, to pray like Habakuk:
Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy. ~ Hab 3:2
May our hope rest in our merciful God who is faithful.