Hope in the midst of Coronavirus
Our world is being shaken by the threat of Coronavirus and COVID-19. Never before have so many business, schools, churches and other organisations had to close their doors and their gatherings, and never before have we needed to avoid social contact in this way. The challenges to us as a society and as individuals is profound. Some of us will be struggling with the reality of social isolation, and long days and weeks at home alone. Others will be wrestling with the complications of having whole families crammed together in too little space, with too few opportunities for socialising, exercise, leisure and entertainment. Many of us may fear for our health, or the lives of those we love. Some may be anxious about their jobs and businesses.
As a church we believe in a God who is bigger than anything we fear. We believe he is a loving Father who cares for his children, and we believe that we can turn to him in times of crisis such as these. The apostle Paul encourages us like this in Phil 4:6-7:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
While church services and our other activities may have stopped, we can all still pray. And as a church we want to encourage you to do that. Click here if you would like more guidance or help with this.
Times such as these also bring out the best in society, and in many of the people around us. If you need help, or are wondering how you can best help others, then please click here for more details.
For some of us Coronavirus may have raised challenging questions about the existence of God, or the Christian faith. If that is the case for you then you may find John Lennox's latest short publication helpful (released in April). Click here to investigate further.
Over the course of the next few months, while we are unable to hold church services, I will try to upload some short talks or thoughts to help us connect with the Bible and hear what God might be saying to us in the midst of this. Click here to view them.
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of the current crisis is that we cannot predict or foresee a time when it will end. But can I encourage you all not to lose hope. The people of God have often had seasons of faithfully waiting and hoping, and we need to take strength from their example. A time such as this helps us to think afresh about what really matters to us, when many of the distractions and routines of everyday life are lost. It helps us to regain perspective and to connect with our loved ones. As we miss our usual social activities, it helps us to really value and be thankful for our friends and our local communities. When this pandemic ends - and it will end - we will experience fresh joy at the opportunities that we may have previously taken for granted.
Don't lose hope in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. Please know that as a church we are praying for everyone in our local community and are here to help if we can. And this is my prayer in the midst of these difficulties, taken from Romans 15:13:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Rev Paul Franklin