This week leading up to Easter I am posting with permission a series of Lenten Reflections written by members of our church in Maynooth. This one by Sinead Hussey is well suited to this Good Friday – ‘Hope in the Darkness’.
Hope in the Darkness
The terrifying term “pandemic” has been headline news now for weeks. You cannot turn on the TV, radio, or social media without hearing the statistics about the Coronavirus.
We are living in a world where everyone is facing some level of increased anxiety, stress and fear. Some of us fear catching the virus or losing a loved one, while others fear losing their jobs and what this virus will do to the economy. Fear is a natural reaction to danger, uncertainty and death. Fear, however, can be crippling and can drag us down into despair and hopelessness. Fear can distract us from our relationship with God and the truth that He is in control and “Lord of Heaven and earth” (Matt 11:25).
So what should we do with our fear?
During this lockdown I have been making a list of what the Bible says about who God is. Writing the list has helped me focus more on who He is and has helped me with the stress this virus has inflicted. I find reading Scripture helps alleviate my stress. It comforts me to know that God is in control, that He is Sovereign and that He has a plan, whether I know his plan or not. By turning my attention to God my worries ease a little.
To remember that God is gracious and compassionate (Ps 145:8-9), merciful (Lk 6:36), trustworthy, faithful (2 Tim 2:13), good (lk 18;19), kind, (Eph 2:7), wise (Job 9:4), unchanging (Deut 7:9), just (Dan 9:14), holy (Ps 77:13), loving and forgiving (Ps 86:5) helps refocus my thoughts on Him and I feel reassured that we are in this together. Knowing that He is our refuge and our hope (Ps 46:1), and that He has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us (Deut 31:6) comforts me during these unprecedented times.
Turning my attention to God lifts the stress and anxiety that I feel during this pandemic.
Remembering the truths of who He is, and what he has done, brings me a sense of peace and calm. This peace alongside our future hope moves me/us to respond to this crisis.
So, how do we respond to anxiety, stress and fear during this crisis?
By redirecting our minds to God we can become the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. By focusing on who He is we can be released from fear. We need to remind ourselves that He has a plan and He will protect us.
We respond by offering prayer to others, by keeping in touch with those who are alone, by calling on our elderly neighbour, by doing some shopping for someone who needs it, and by going to the post office for those who are cocooned.
Prayer is an amazing tool we have as Christians. I recently prayed with an elderly woman who has parkinsons. When I opened my eyes after the prayer, she was still, her jerking movement had stopped momentarily. She looked up at me, smiled and thanked me for bringing her so much comfort and peace. This is our privilege as Christians.
Technology is a wonderful tool also and we can use it to stay connected with the more vulnerable.
We can overcome fear and respond to this crises with courage and compassion in knowing we are not alone and that we are part of God’s plan. Hear God say to you today, “Do Not Fear”. Germany Kent says
“Let your life reflect the faith you have in God. Fear nothing and pray about everything. Be strong, trust God’s word, and trust the process.”
Let us join in prayer together and ask God to be merciful and stop the spread of this virus. We ask God to look after the elderly in our nursing homes and to give our healthcare staff the strength and energy to keep doing their job. We pray that we do not panic. And we pray that the peace that passes all understanding guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.