BY REV GOH YONG KUANG
Most of us have not forgotten about the deadly SARS outbreak that paralysed much of the world years ago. One family that will never forget is the family of a 39 year-old pastor, who was infected and died after visiting one of his church members in the hospital. There were hundreds like him who perished in the outbreak worldwide.
I’m sure many people were questioning why, including believers. Why did a loving God allow such a thing to happen, even to His own children?
Today, 17 years after the SARS epidemic, we are faced with another virus outbreak! As Christians, how should we respond to this? We do not know or understand everything that is happening! But we do know that our God is still the gracious and merciful God who loves us, just as He promised.
In times like these, what can we do as God's agent of truth, of hope and peace?
3 things we can do:
PRAY! - Pray for healing for those affected by the virus outbreak - especially for God's peace and comfort upon those who have lost loved ones to the disease. Pray for all government leaders to have wisdom in handling and managing the crisis. Pray for all medical and humanitarian workers and personnel - for protection from infection, for endurance and strength as they work tirelessly to bring relief to those in need. Most of all, pray for those who do not know the Lord yet, that as they face the uncertainty of life - God, in His special way, might speak through the Holy Spirit and cause them to respond to Him and to surrender their lives to Him while they still can.
TRUST! - Often, when crisis hits, people start questioning God - Christians included! Instead of questioning, we should be trusting! Trouble and suffering will always be a part of this earthly existence, but we can still have peace in our hearts if we learn to trust the sovereign God, who not only knows what is happening in the world and in each person’s life, but is fully in control despite the confusion & chaos that we see in the world and experience in our lives today! While we take every precautionary measure to protect ourselves against this outbreak - we mustn't allow fear or anxiety to consume us. Our Lord reminds us in Matthew 6:27, “Can worry make you live longer?”(CEV) Therefore, instead of giving in to fear and anxiety, we should trust the Lord to work out His plans and purposes in the world and in our own lives.
SERVE! - In the wake of what is happening, it is easy to give up or quit. In times of trouble or uncertainty, we should remain faithful and diligent in our service to God. There is a sense of urgency in what Jesus said to His disciples, "We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4 ESV). Although this metaphor may relate to His earthly ministry and His impending death, these words are also for us, for there is a night coming!
We do not know how long things are going to get worse before it gets better...if ever. Nevertheless, may God help us to stay faithful and serve Him to the end!