It has been a few days since the announcement of the indefinite school closure and a call for self-quarantine in Kenya. It has been more than three months since the new vocabulary hit the streets- “Coronavirus” and “Covid-19.” There have been tens of thousands of cases, multiple city lockdowns and several deaths later, and the panic continues. Many of us are doing things, yet with lots of questions in mind like “where is our God?’ And the Psalmist would answer and say, “Our God is in the heavens he does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3).” All these boil down, in the human mind as one thing- anxiety attack!
Afflictions to the soul
Rinse your hands with sanitizer. But they are out of stock. Don’t be too close to people. But everyone is everywhere. It seems impossible, yet the doctors and scientist say that is the best approach to deal with the scare of Covid-19. Think about the state of mind for many of us today. Fear and uncertainty fill our hearts and minds. This self-quarantine has come with a unique sense of anxiety. Will my neighbour infect me? Did I get too close to a Covid-19 case? Will there be food in the markets within a short while? Will kids ever go back to school? What about the school fees? Will they carry it forward? Will these few cases grow into something else? What on earth will happen to our jobs and side hustles? Well, we may not have the answers to all these, but this one thing is for sure, we can hope in God.
Jeremiah, the prophet, in Lamentations 3:1-20, shares how he has felt during the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Things were happening against and around him that made him feel as if the Lord was striking him (Lamentations 3:1-16). He lacked peace and momentum, yet he was a prophet of God (Jeremiah 1:4-5). Everything seemed dark and bleak. The remembrance of his troubles caused his head to bow low (Lamentation 3:20). That is what most of us are feeling like, especially those who claim the Lord’s salvation. He is not answering our prayers. What wrong have we done? The tendency is to look at it as if God has let us down and neglected us. Some might even decide to visit those funny preachers who name it and claim it, only this time, Covid-19 does not seem to respond to their threats- because they are empty. God has not forsaken nor forgotten his world.
When these realities fill the streets, and there seems not to be an answer even from the mightiest nations, our eyes need to shift. Look beyond the masses and scientists and see God’s faithfulness. Jeremiah, with his head, bowed low due to discouragement and anxiety, remembers a critical truth for such times- “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).” How refreshing this sounds. The man who was beaten up in his mind by the prevailing situation is now full of strength and hope. The bad had happened, but not the worst. Yes, he had gone through unthinkable things, but the unspeakable hadn’t happened.
As our eyes fixated on the news and the way our country is fighting it, we need to get a better view. We need to see the hand of God holding off the worst from happening. Of course, we will have bad things happening even to the elect (John 16:33). But there is a more significant thing happening- God is working for the good of his own (Romans 8:28). He has tightened the nozzle so that the flow is not ceaseless. His faithfulness means God cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13). He always remains true to his character, a merciful God (Exodus 34:6-7, Psalm 86:15). Mercy means that he does not give us what we deserve for whatever things we have done. Look at the world; it is almost like the days of Noah- sin and wickedness are increasing by the day. God, in those days, responded. He cleared all except Noah and crew (Genesis 6:1-7).
Today, with this virus ravaging the world and flexing its muscles against the medical empire, God is faithful still. He has not wiped out the world. As long as we can see a new day, we know we are under His mercy. And that needs to be our focus. When all around your soul gives way, find Christ as your strong assurance (Isaiah 41:10). He is faithfully carrying the day forward.
Covid-19 has brought a particular fear in us that is unthinkable. We have had illnesses before that have been life-threatening. We have gadgets invented that have taken the lives of many people before. Planes, cars, ships, motorcycles and others. All these have and are still bringing deaths in the world. But for some strange reason, this is getting out of hand. We need to have hope beyond what we see. That is why the fact that there is no cure for COVID-19 is a crazy threat worldwide. We are used to feeling in control of all things. Now we are out of control, somewhat. That is why we are anxious in our homes as we self-quarantine. But maybe it is time for us to lift our eyes beyond the hills and high places and see God- reliable and faithful (Psalm 121). Take your Bible and see how much he has written for our souls to chew. Pray to him and gear him speak to you confidence that transcends the here and now. Look around you and realise that the worst has not yet happened; that the LORD has given us new mercies for every morning we see the light. Listen to hope installing music and Gospel entered sermons. Not this self-help motivational emptiness that cannot anchor your soul. For the LORD will not cast off forever, but, though he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love (Lamentation 3:31-32).