Looking for the ‘silver linings’
Over the last year I’ve seen more beautiful parts of Hong Kong than I ever have before. Like many people, the restrictions against travel and group gatherings have meant that I’ve hiked a lot. COVID has brought innumerable challenges that have been easy to see, but it’s also worth trying to find the ‘silver linings’ in the clouds of this pandemic.
In speaking with many of you, I think we can see some ways God has blessed us in this difficult time. Here are three blessings.
God has blessed us in this difficult time.
First, we’ve had to hold on more firmly to God. COVID has made life a lot more uncertain. Our routines have changed and our plans have been altered. We’ve realised that we can’t take so much for granted; our health, our jobs, our kids’ schooling, any of these can be easily taken away. COVID has stripped away the illusion that we’re in control of our lives. It’s in recognising that our circumstances are insecure that we learn that our ultimate security is in God alone. Rather than this realisation being unsettling, it actually brings tremendous peace. We find ourselves standing on a solid foundation. We can say with the psalmist, ‘For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?’ (Ps 18:31).
Second, we see more clearly our need for Christian community. The social distancing restrictions have meant that we’ve had more than 40 weeks of online church, Kidzone, Youth, and groups. By the time normal church returns, many of us wouldn’t have been to St Andrew’s for over a year. Whilst we appreciate having the means of online ministry, it doesn’t properly replace being together in person. Humans are creatures built for intimacy and proximity in relationships. Moreover, God has brought us together so that we can build one another up in our faith. That connectivity happens far more deeply when done in person.
Third, we have a stronger desire for the Lord’s return. The last year has given us ample reminder that the world is a broken place. The yearnings that we feel within us for lasting peace, wholeness, beauty and satisfaction cannot be met in this world. We’re learning not to overinvest all our hopes for this life, but look to the next. The brokenness of our world is a reminder of the need for evangelism so that the lost can hear the good news of Jesus, and a call for increased holiness so that we’d be prepared to meet Jesus when he returns.
Have there been blessings amidst the difficulty of COVID for you? Maybe this evening you can take a few minutes to reflect on what God has been teaching you this year. Don’t look at COVID as an unfortunate pause in the ideal life that you’re trying to build for yourself. Rather, look to see how it’s helping you to be a more humble, joyful, and dependent follower of Jesus.
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