The scorpions sang their famous song in the 90’s about the end of German civil war and the subsequent fall of the Berlin Wall calling it as the ‘Wind of Change’.It goes like this,
“Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away in the wind of change”
The world has seen so many changes, and certainly we are through such a change. In a short span of time , the world is facing a lot of unexpected changes. A Global pandemic is on the rise, like the one which the mordern world has never seen. A deadly virus has become the talking point of the world and even became a household name causing many a delusions, panic and fear, the aftereffects could be felt for a long time, which can have catastrophic influence on how the future of the world could be shaped. The impact it can have on the market and economy as a whole had to be watched with concern.As I look at these events unfold vigorously, I could not resist but think about what God wants to convey us through this? What’s the message underneath such devastation? All through the Bible pestilence is described as God’s warning to people to mend their ways and as an indicator for his people to turn back to him, and I was strongly reminded of a statement Jesus used after he explained the signs of his coming which includes pestilence , he said “These things must happen” (Matthew 24:6). So as I started to pen down this piece, I got convinced that I’m writing these in the light of that reality that came out of the mouth of Christ Jesus. The reality of the times we are living in!!!
Such is life! Sometimes things like these teach us humility, it reminds mankind about the fragility of human life. It also gives us the sense of togetherness, that we are all the same, facing a common adversity and that we should set aside our differences to help each other in our fight against a disaster which threatens us. This is real, This is us, we are all in this together. It’s not a time of hopelesness but hope, its not a time to be frustrated but to care, its not a time to cast doubts on each other but to trust one another, its not a moment to define life as meaningless but derive our purpose from it, its not a time to worry but to pray and analyze, its not a time to be disillusioned with God but to put faith on him and say ‘ I still choose to Believe’. If Hope is all we have, Hope is all we need. We all are in one way or the other ‘Prisoners of Hope tied together with the chains of our destiny’.
A little boy while helping his dad in the farm looked at the approaching dark clouds in the sky, tucking in to his pop’s legs, he said ‘Dad im scared, its dark and gloomy’, the father replied Son, cheer up, we are about to receive rain after a long time! As the Dad was there to offer hope to his scared son, God is calling us to offer hope to one another reminding ‘This too shall pass by the grace of God”. Especially our Heavenly Father is there to offer hope to each one of us’. The aim of this article is not force an ‘Unreal positivity’ or a ‘false motivation’, but to remind and encourage ourselves in the midst of fear and panic all over, that the only way to overcome this is by holding on to hope and covering ourselves and others with care. Sometimes adversities such as these enable us to to evolve, it fills us with the truths which otherwise would be hidden from our ever wavering eyes, it also makes us strong and seek things which are real instead of vanity. Amidst the images of sorrow and pain of those who lost their loved ones, and the emptiness in the avenues of the famed cities with restricted social contacts between people. This adversity on humans has certainly brought lot of best out of the citizens of the world, infact it has brought humanity much closer and together, it has given space for families to hold on to each other, for many it has given space to think about the meaning and purpose of life.
The images of the medical health professionals daring themselves to save others, the governments of different countries taking responsibilities in offering leadership, and the famous scenes in the balconies of the most affected in Italy shares a story of greater value and strength. Eventhough there is a lot to lose , there is also lot to gain out of it. We have always evolved through our most deepest pains and hardest challenges.To present an overarching reality in these tough situations may not be considered wise, but its also important to speak your mind with compassion and integrity. Many would argue, If there is God,why would he allow this? a good question indeed! but the bigger question is , what if he has allowed this to communicate something important to us? What if there is a message from God that we need to look closely in to? What if which he already told and warned is happening? Since these are the times where we humans realize we are not in control, just think that all our latest technology and innovations could not stop this impending danger. If we are not in control, then who is? I still remember those safety drills in my workplace where a siren blast of warning would gather thousands of us in an open space. Then they deliver an important message to all of us that in case of emergency like fire or earthquake we have to assemble like this when the alarm is heard. This pandemic has messages to share too, the importance of public health, the preparedness in us to tackle such situations, but the most important of all this according to me is what our creator God is trying to convey? What if this is our one last opportunity of knowing him?
Certainly, God allows such moments as these to get our attention to his plans and promises. Such statements can irk many in sensitive times as these and even God can be ‘Anathema’ to those who want to deny his existence.I believe as much its the time to be sensitive, its time to speak the truth sensibly. Is our response going to end just with fighting just an other plague in human history? or whether we are going to take the words of Christ seriously and see this as a foretold sign to prepare us and others for the greater reality ahead of us is something we are left to ponder. These times can either break or build anyone’s faith. I hope and pray that it would build us to put our trust in God our only refuge. As the Psalmist sings “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”. Psalm 46:1. Following are some of the key points I want to lay down as we walk in to those greater realities in the days to come…..
1. The Repeated DENIAL:
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6.After the beginning of this virus outbreak in China. Many didnt understand the intensity of it. First of all it was so unexpected in many ways. The pandemic which began in a region started consuming lives across the world. Many also believed that it was a hoax, such was the ambiguity that prevailed over the disease. This denial and carelesness is also reason why it has come to this point. We usually tend to take anything seriously till it affects us. Are we going to deny the reality of God and his righteous authority calling all mankind to know him in truth like many who denied about the reality and impact of this virus?Are we going to make the mistake of denying the return of Jesus Christ to judge this earth? Yet, its no secret that many will keep denying it till it takes place, generally truth might seem very unrealistic since we are not willing to believe in it. Even with all its warning and severity people don’t take the word of God and its warnings seriously, since they feel it doesnt become a part of their reality, but to deny it doesnt nullify its presence. One day truth will strike at our own door like many who have experienced this virus, and we wont have time to react to it. Truth is too costly to deny, seek it with all your heart.
They will say,”Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? “Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:4.
2. The Robust SPREAD:
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21.
Many would be aware of the speed of the spread of this virus. It is very robust , within the span of few days many were affected and many were killed in a span of few weeks. This is probably the fastest Global spread in the history, our universal transport system has a role to play in it.Even the awareness and warning about this deadly virus spread in faster pace, thanks to media, it really got everyone talking all over the world. This dangerous SPREAD got me thinking about the fact that evil, destruction, adversity, hate, lies and danger spreads faster than healing, love, truth, trust and goodwill. Fear convinces us more than what faith does, since we react to fear more easily than we react to faith,threats like these reach and gets our attention faster than precautions. Sin too spreads like this virus, it affects our lives, family and society in many different ways, it destroys our relationship with God and people. Bible says that “The wages of sin is death”, the spread of sin too is very robust and it brings God’s wrath which leads to death. How seriously do we take sin which spreads like wildfire. There is only one way to stop the spread of sin, it is by receiving the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ and committing to live for him. The spread of sin also can be stopped by spreading of the Gospel, the awareness about the Corona virus spread fast in order to save lives, same like that the Goodnews of Jesus Christ has to reach faster to save lives from sin and God’s wrath. The question is, How seriously are we taking this SPREAD?
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Ephesisans 2:1-6.
3. The Relentless WASHING:
“Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow”. Isaiah 1:16-17. One of the guidelines given by the Health professionals to stop the spread of this contagious virus is to wash the hands regularly and properly, as well use sanitizers. I was reminded about this old Gospel song which says, “What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus”. Since the spread of COVID-19 we are reminded to constantly wash our hands, but how often are we reminded about our soul which needs cleansing. Do we give importance to our soul hygiene?Do we give importance to our Holiness and our responsibility to render Justice? . God wants us to live a blameless Holy and pure but how many times we remain adamant, unrepented and live a life insensitive of the Holy Spirit. Are we concerned about the cleanliness of our hearts same as we are about unclean hands? God reminds us today about the areas we need to be cleansed. Bible says that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness, which means it offers us forgiveness. Many live in guilt, shame, hurts, regrets of the past, but a cleansing from God can offer us new hope which will enable us to live a Holy life unto him. The Holy Spirit will enable us to fight against the germs of evil and guard us from temptations. Are we seeking a clean lives like we seek a clean hands?
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14
4. The Right RESPONSE:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28.
Response means ‘Responsibility’. In the midst of this outbreak, the role of the Governments became crucial. Many Governments came up with solutions and policies to tackle the damage and minimise the loss, various methods and techniques were used in creating safety. From making healthcare available to all to announcing special packages for its citizens the response have been sincere. Especially terms like ‘Qurantine’, ‘Social distancing’ , ‘Bending the curve’and ‘lockdown’s’ are doing the rounds with millions stranded across the globe devoid of travelling. They understood the truth if the response is poor then the danger is more. Even people are following the instructions from their respective Governments to fall in line in the fight against the virus. The bigger question is what is our response to the Call of God? do we give right responses to him? Especially God through Jesus Christ call us all in to a relationship with him, he calls us to inherit all the spiritual blessings that he has in store for those who believe and follow him, he wants everybody to repent and be saved. But many instead of responding to him, we give him excuses, we give him reasons. We dont understand the importance of that call and our response. The right response to him alone can lead us in to truth and everlasting love. We casually reject his call of love to be in communion with him for the temporary benefits of the world. Are we going to take his call seriously and return to his love?
‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 1:3.
“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also“. John 14:3
The common activity for many across the world was buying sanitizers, masks and things for everyday use like household needs and groceries. Obvious that such drastic circumstances demands drastic measures. Urgent preparations are underway across the world to face this unknown future. On the other side how is our preparation to meet the King who is going to judge the nations with righteousness and truth? Do we have the same urgency and caution in preparing to meet him?As I said before one of the signs Jesus said about his second coming are pestilences that will erupt and it will be careless on our part if we bypass this warning from Christ casually. We need to be prepared to meet him, we need to prepare others to meet the Lord. The ways in which we can prepare is to looking in to our lives the areas in which we need change, the areas in which we need surrender and submit ourselves to his precious will. We also can prepare by seeking his coming dilligently and inform others even by warning them about his imminent return and his judgement. Another sign of his return is that the Gospel of his coming will preached across the world. We also can prepare by being willing to lay down even our lives for his truth since in the last days there will intense persecution of those who believe in Christ. As much it is important to prepare to figtht against this virus, it is much more important to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Are you prepared to meet the Lord?
“But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36
Our God is a God who conveys to us in mysterious ways, and this plague across the world is certainly a way in which he is communicating to us in order to be prepared for the coming times. He is also promises that he will be with us through this and his rod and staff will comfort us. The Big message from God in all of this is “RETURN TO ME”, “COME BACK”.
“Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you”. Zechariah 9:12.
Hope is the final word in all this. We cannot lose hope in these times but hold on it even stronger.
1. Hope through trusting God:
Our hope is found in our living God and our resurrected Saviour, when we put our faith in him and his word , as we look to him in prayer, he will surely carry us through this . This is a time to pray for one another, pray together as families and meditate the word of God togeher and seek his ways (Isaiah 40:31).
2. Hope through Caring for each other:
We all are in this together, and in these times hope is spread through caring for each other in smallest of things. Giving words of encouragement, sharing resources and awareness can be a good way of spreading hope (Galatians 6:2).Return to the fortress, O prisoners of Hope. Return to God!!
P.S:Shoutout and prayers to all Health professionals, Public workers and those in the line of fire, fighting it on behalf of all of us. May God Bless You!!