Thursday, June 25, 2020
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Saturday, June 20, 2020
What the first quarter/half of 2020 brought to our lives and almost the whole world was the Lockdown phenomenon which none had expected or seen in their wildest of dreams. Locked down by the Government, locked in at home and locked out of society to say the least. All three had it's varying effects on individuals and rightly a version 2.0 of most persons was unlocked. Perhaps the extended lockdowns in some places must have unlocked versions 3.0 and 4.0. We can put our names before the versions and see how it sounds.
What we really are, must have unfolded in our homes. The frustrations, the disappointments, the fears and finally giving in to the "let the boat sail where the winds are taking it" attitude.
From the Christian's view point, no amount of prayer and fasting and worship seems to be moving the heart of Almighty God, though there are many individual miracles. People have died by the lacs, millions afflicted by the dreaded disease COVID 19.
Some Christians are looking anew at Psalm 91 and Psalm 121 (from different angles) to see whether they can escape the pandemic, learning new epidemiological terms all along. The 1990s made us learn new words like Tsunami, now its Pandemic and containment zones.
After 2 months of being locked down, most are in the Unlock phase, though some are still in different versions of Lockdowns. People, even believers in Jesus Christ are asking questions...
Where is God amidst all this? Simple answer- He is still on the heavenly throne, ruling over all his creation. He hasn't changed, he has always stuck to his original version- omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Why isn't he doing anything regarding Covid 19? Well, he's always working to achieve the plans and purposes of his heart. He's overseen all epidemics and pandemics and everything in between.
One thing is for sure. Life will never be the same post COVID 19. But for the believing Christian, Jesus's advice was put forth centuries back. It says,
"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
(Revelation 22:11, 12)
The pandemic and the pain it's causing makes no sense to many, but as a believing Christian, one can always know for sure and say that... "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
When Jesus went about ministering to people while he was with his disciples, he tested his disciples' faith in several situations. For example,
"When Jesus saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do." (John 6:5, 6)
Philip started calculating, instead of telling Jesus that he could do yet another miracle. TEST RESULT- FAILED 0/10.
Andrew must have got 5/10 for saying
"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9)
Atleast he had a plan, though he thought it was a poor plan by adding "but how far will they go among so many".
I think the rest of the disciples must have melted in to the crowd when they saw Philip being questioned. They had got used to admonitions like "O, you of little faith, rebukes like "Why are you so afraid" and hard questions like, "Where is your faith?"
True, their teacher and master was tough on them. After some of the tests, they must have felt like asking him, "Can we go home now?" or "Can we take the weekend off?" but they mostly kept quiet, looking up to him with reverent fear.
Some of us may feel and respond like the disciples did when we go through diverse trials in our lives. We may feel like utter failures. So are these heavenly trials designed to make us or break us?
Both, I would say... First to break us and then to make us.
The incessant crying of an infant is enough to send the faith of believing (new) parents flying out of the windows. Talk about children sitting for prayer with faith filled parents. The young ones find it the right time to create the maximum ruckus. And people call it the "Sweet hour of prayer." No amount of praying seems to change their attitude.
Well, these are just kindergarten or LKG trials. The big ones reveal themselves year by year as the believer matures.
Carry your cross, Jesus said....And there are all kinds of them... Bad spouse cross, no children cross, naughty children cross, poor finances cross, sickness cross, fear cross, everything I touch turns to rubble cross and the 1001 such crosses.
So what does one do? Fast and pray, worship, meditate on the word, speak the word, rebuke.. There's no dearth of advice. Extortionists add "Give your tithes or you are cursed" to this list of "To dos". Well.. well.. well... Short term, intermediate term and long term periods of testing..Why? Why? Why? is what exasperated believers ask sometimes. Is there a mystery here?
Look at the disciples of Jesus...The various testings they were put through.
They failed repeatedly and miserably. Jesus knew they would fail and he knows we will fail. But he broke them so that he could make something wonderful of them. Later on most of these uneducated men turned the world upside down. They became ambassadors of the Most High.
God has a purpose in the breaking; some of which we may never understand. But he is also the MASTER BUILDER. He wants to make something beautiful and wonderful of you.
If you are experiencing a testing time this season, be patient. You may feel like giving up, you may feel like you have no more faith left or you may feel like you have failed in your relationship with your Savior. You may feel like the disciples often felt when Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith. But listen... times will change. Seasons of refreshing will come. God will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your tongue with songs of joy. Just be patient.
For God's anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.