Coronavirus - Rev Paul Greenin

Hi All,

It is sad that we cannot meet together in the coming weeks. I hope that this will be a temporary situation that will change soon. So I thought I would write something a bit longer than an email to encourage you. Let us look at Psalm 91.

Psalm 91 (NIV Anglicised Bible):

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling - even the Lord, who is my refuge -

10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and serpent.

14 "Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name."

15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

This Psalm has been used a number of times in different places during the current crisis. But what does it say for our current situation?

1. We need not give into fear - Fear is a nasty by-product of any crisis in any community. Fear robs us of our trust in God. At the moment, 169 thousand people have tested positive for the virus. This is concerning and we will be worried for our loved ones. But we do not give in to fear. Jesus said the following about fear:

1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment." - Jesus was telling us that if we love and trust in Him, we will not fear. Again, Jesus also said this: Matthew 10:28-31 "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." - you are precious to God, loved and treasured beyond our understanding. Jesus wants us to trust the Father in health and in sickness.

2. God is with us - Does that mean we will be immune from the virus? No of course not. But it does mean God is with us in it. He will never desert us or abandon us. In this life or the next, God has promised to be with us. I do not believe in the immunity of Christians to suffering in the world. We will experience all that the world goes through with a difference, we have God with us. So if you get the virus, or have to self-isolate because of the virus, you will not be alone. Hopefully we, your church family will be in touch and keep you informed of what is going on. But more than this - God is with us by His Spirit. We need not fear - He is with us.

3. Keep Praying - The Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 91 verse 15 that God listens when we call to him. So, even when everything else is cancelled - prayer isn't. So with that in mind I have some suggestions for prayer....

The NHS

Pray that the NHS will be able to cope with the coming intensity of the Coronavirus outbreak. Pray for all Staff on the frontline that they will be safe, that there will be enough beds for the extremely ill. Pray that the Government will invest enough resources into the NHS.

The Government

Pray for the Government and opposition. Pray that they will be informed and compassionate in their dealing with the outbreak. Pray as they make decisions concerning those who are self-isolating and risk not being able to pay rent or mortgage.

The most vulnerable in our Society

Pray that in these uncertain times, that the most vulnerable, the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, and those that do not have family to help them, will be protected. Pray they will have good neighbours and friends who will help them in this time of need.

Pray for our church family

Pray we will know God's peace and love. Give us courage to live as Jesus lived, caring for others and seeking to help wherever we can. If you are able to help others, do so in Jesus' name. For example, a phone call will be appreciated by those self-isolating.

 

God Bless you and your loved ones,

Paul

 

 


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