Greetings, in these days of being sequestered and home bound, I’ve written a series called Hope in Crisis.
It never occurred to me that our world would be swamped by such a small and seemingly insignificant virus. While today, we rely on the scientific world to find therapies and eventually a vaccine, it wasn’t always so.
For example, in the early days of the church, Christians faced two pandemics, one in the second century – which was thought to be smallpox and the second in the third which was thought to be measles.
The diseases swept through their communities, and as it did, they have no medical safeguards or an understanding of what was their cause. Yet, in the midst of these ravaging months, the church grew.
Church leader Dionysius in his Easter letter to the church in 260 AD wrote,
“Most of our Christians showed love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ . . .Many in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead.”
History records that out of these moments of colossal disaster, the church grew in both numbers and witness, as out of the calamity, their love and service made a difference.
This Covid-19 virus has locked us down. Government decrees require we stay at home. Crowds are disallowed. And we know that keeping distance, protecting us all from the virus, is one of the best things we can do. It is an important gift we give to each other.
While we do our best to prevent its spread, another question to ask is, what am I spreading? What can we do to others, outside of the bounds of medical expertise and therapeutic measures?
Yes, there is something good we can spread. It’s a gift. The gift of hope. Hope is powerful, it spreads without contact, it finds its way into the hearts of others without even being in the same room.
That kind comes from God’s promise to us. Isaiah noted for the people of his day, this important strand to hope.
The simple word was – Don’t be afraid.
Why? Because Abba Father says “you are mine. I’ve redeemed you and because of that I call you by name.”
Then he suggests three circumstances where he is present. The Message words it this way:
All of this is because you are mine.
This doesn’t eliminate the threat of disease. It doesn’t replenish your bank account. It doesn’t restore schooling for your family.
But here is what it does do.
Let me read that text again from Isaiah:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:” Isaiah 43:1-4
Thanks for your time, and as we pray together, let us know the overwhelming presence and care of our Lord and Saviour.
Lord of all, creator, Savior and king, in this moment we remind ourselves that we are yours, so much so that you even know my name. It crosses your lips. You say it with love. Our circumstance is also known to you.
Our prayer is: we will rise each morning and rest each night, hearing you speak our name, so that what we say and show to others will be resilient with the hope we have in you, our lord and king.
Hope in Crisis #1
Brian C. Stiller, Global Ambassador
The World Evangelical Alliance