My mum replied to my late night ‘worry’ text with the words: ‘Yes, but one day it will all be just a memory! Keep calm and carry on my darling.’  If you don’t have a voice in your life telling you this, I’m gifting this text to you xx  She has no reason to take comfort in the statistics – she’s probably one of the most ‘at risk’. But she still managed to send out a reassuring text.  Please do this for your friends and family.  History is full of the amazing achievements of ‘war effort’ and ‘community spirit’ and thanks to modern technology, this is completely accessible to us throughout this uncertainty.

If you are particularly struggling with anxiety, please take a look at this video that one of the team just sent me:

 

Our job here is to encourage you to share God’s love in natural ways.  If we’re looking for meaningful conversations about fear, hope and the future, the opportunities are all around us. The great work you do of loving those around you must not stop!  Keep smiling, keep communicating.  Check in on neighbours and collect phone numbers so that you are able to keep checking in on them. It’s a challenge though isn’t it? It’s definitely a challenge not to panic and to swim against the tide of worry. But I take comfort in the words we have from Paul, thanks to him writing his second letter to the Corinthians:

So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18

We all know Paul suffered.  Suffering is not new to us (well, it’s not new to the collective, universal ‘us’, but to be honest, it is new to many of us, thanks to where we live and our incredibly blessed lives).  A glance through the pages of the Bible and a chat to those who have seen a little more of the world, lived a little longer than us, suffered mentally and physically, experienced persecution, and so on, will quickly reveal a level of suffering we might not have experienced personally.  We’ve probably grown up singing ‘in this world we will have trouble, but you have overcome the world’. Well, now we need to be believing those words and keeping our heads.  We need to keep our fears in check and help others to do the same.

This morning I started making a list of things I’m grateful for. Thank you God for the daffodils, for the sunshine, for the birdsong. Thank you for the way these things help take away the stress I feel after watching last night’s 10 O’Clock News.

Thank you God for all the carers visiting the elderly.  Thank you for the hospital workers, the emergency services, those keeping going amidst all the uncertainty.  I went on to think of things more personal to me.  I became very aware of a wide spectrum of emotions, situations and feelings and realised this would be the point where I would need to leave you to pray about your own lives.

If you’re feeling strong enough for a challenge, read this extract from an article by Graham Nicholls:

The temptation to fear coronavirus is real. God know this. This is why he says “do not fear” hundreds of times in the Bible.

This is an opportunity to exercise our faith – to show that our feet are planted on something as solid as rock. If being a Christian doesn’t mean something to us in the face of a deadly disease, then it doesn’t really mean anything. But it should make all the difference. As we read in Isaiah:

Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread. (Isaiah 8:12,13)

Christian blogger David Robertson recently wrote of the coronavirus: “The ‘worst-case scenario’ is not that 100 per cent of us get COVID-19 and 3.4 per cent die. The worst-case scenario would be if there were no Christ and no saviour. A far worse and more infectious virus is that of sin. 100 per cent of us are born with it. 100 per cent will die because of it. But we were created for eternity and that is why we fear death. The world’s answer is to panic and buy toilet paper. The church’s answer is to look to Christ.”

The confidence of our secular culture is all smoke and mirrors. The self-aware, casual irony of a culture that has never had its centre tested by anything is disappearing faster than loo rolls at the supermarket.

So we do not put our trust in the precautions we adopt or the projected low mortality rates. We trust our sovereign and gracious God. We need not fear but look to the Lord to provide, protect and teach us through these testing times.

We are facing the unknown, but we are facing it together.  Let’s be kind, have empathy, share supplies, and keep washing our hands.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God”

Corrie Ten Boom

Sending you lots of love x

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