This year has been a difficult time for many people around the world. For those of us who live in the Western nations, the shock of the Covid and all the attendant restrictions on our lives and businesses has been tough to take. We generally live in peaceful societies with functioning governments and have not been used to difficulties on this scale in many years. There is also the sense that worse is to come in terms of the growth in unemployment and all the problems that go along with that.
Two weeks ago on a Bible course I’m doing we were given Isaiah 41:10 to memorize:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
I have needed that these past few weeks! Where I live, Covid restrictions are soon to be tightened. Who knows how long that will go on for or what it will mean for the local economy. Hospitals are said to be seeing an increase in patients. Infection rates are growing. Where am I to look in times like this? This verse points me to God Himself, through Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. When we put our trust in Jesus, He never leaves us and He is always with us, both within and by our side.
'...He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; What can man do to me?"' Hebrews 13:5b, 6
Last week a friend sent me a text saying he was fed up of the current restrictions and he just wanted things to go back to normal. He asked me when I thought they would get better. Of course I had to tell him that I have no idea, but I was able to point him to the Lord, the One who does indeed know all things. I shared the memory verse with him.
During this past week my mother-in-law was taken ill and sadly died. It was all very quick. This time last week my husband and daughter had gone to visit her and sit in her garden. Everything seemed as normal; she appeared to be well and her usual self. The next day my brother-in-law went to her house after lunch and saw that the curtains were all closed and realised she hadn’t got up that day. He called my husband and they both went there together, going in and finding her on the floor of her bedroom. She had been sick overnight and was too weak to get back into bed. They waited four hours for an ambulance to come, and when she got to hospital they thought she just had an infection. Antibiotics were given, but her body failed to respond. Two days later she died.
While she was in the hospital, I passed on the memory verse to my husband and he was able to share it with his Mum. I do not know if she knew the Lord as her own Friend and Saviour, but many prayers were said for her over the years and I prayed that this verse would even then prompt her to turn to the Lord.
The next day I sent a message to a friend whose own mother is very ill and only has a short time left here. Once again the memory verse came in useful, and I was able to share it with her.
In these uncertain times we need an anchor for our souls, something to base our lives on that is solid and immovable, which won’t let us down or fail us. I propose to you, whoever you are reading this today, that this anchor is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. None of us knows what the future holds; we aren’t guaranteed easy lives here and some of us will know mostly trouble in these earthly lives. If we look at the world around us there are only temporary fixes on offer.
Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa 53:3). He bore our griefs and our sorrows upon the cross, taking the penalty for all of our wrong thoughts, words and deeds so that we might be at peace with God Himself. There is such love there in that act, love for you and for me, all so that we might have that eternal security and be partakers of His glory. When we have trusted Him, we can know the blessing of that promise in our own lives, whatever circumstances we are facing today:
“fear not, for I am with you”.