I thought I would share a few thoughts ahead of the second lockdown:
The second lockdown!! I did not expect it! When I heard the news, I thought “How long O Lord how long!” An invisible enemy, COVID-19 is attacking all of us and has changed the way we live, the way we work, the way we look at life and relationships, the way we treat others, the way we look at what we most value. While many of us continue to at least adjust to minor changes, such as working from home, doing church in new ways, changing exercise routines, wearing masks, learning to enjoy the simpler things in life; for some, COVID has felt like a wicked curse.
Huge numbers of people are out of work and trying to make ends meet during this uncertain period. Markets are volatile, and many businesses are going bust. Savings are disappearing, and poverty is taking over vulnerable families. People have lost loved ones to the virus.
We live with a constant fear of contracting it, and that stress eats away at their peace and well being on an everyday basis. We long for not so socially distant interaction but fear the consequences. The choice between fear of death or hospitalisation and loneliness or isolation is an unfair predicament. We are hungry for rest, change, and an end to all of this suffering and disruption to our lives. We just want it to stop. But is it possible? It reminds me of the below Psalm.
1How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long will I store up anxious concerns[a] within me,
agony in my mind every day?
How long will my enemy dominate me?
3 Consider me and answer, Lord my God.
Restore brightness to my eyes;
otherwise, I will sleep in death.
4 My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,”
and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in your
my heart will rejoice in your deliverance.
6 I will sing to the Lord
because he has treated me generously.
The Psalmist expresses his deep agony before God. It appears that he was suffering from some severe and prolonged illness, with possibly severe body pains, unable to open his eyes and thinking he might slip away in his sleep to death (verse 3). The phrase “How long” is used for four times in the first 2 verses which indicate his despair, frustration, and helplessness in this hopeless situation. He had deep and anxious thoughts, and his mind was full of agony and pain (verse 2).
In verse 5, however, the word “But” brings all the difference in this Psalm. Despite such pain and suffering, he trusts God’s faithful love and in His deliverance. He looks back to his past events and remembers how God treated him generously. Hence, he sings in praise to the LORD God (verse 6).
How does this Psalm speak to us ahead of this Lockdown? We see that David towards the end was able to express his feelings and talk through his struggles with God in prayer. This gives much needed assurance that we can always turn to God in prayer, in times of uncertainty and despair. When David felt impatient and doubted God about the evil and suffering that went unchecked, he remembered his past experiences of how God had been faithful to him in difficult times. This enabled him to put his trust in God’s unchanging love and grace to deliver him in the end.
In times of despair, it is difficult to hold on than to give up. But if we give up on God, we give in to a life of despair. So let us say yes to God asking Him to strengthen us to continue to trust Him.
Prayer: O God give us grace and strength to trust you in difficult times ahead. With your unfailing love meet my need and increase my faith in you so that I would experience your loving presence in my life. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen
_______________________Revd. Dr. Anand Sodadasi, Rector,
Rectory, 1, Hall Lane,
Great Chishill, Royston,