Last night when I was preparing to go to bed at around thirty minutes past midnight, I heard the voice of a woman in distress. When I covered myself up, the voice sounded more planned, the wailing wasn’t that of one who is in distress, but one which was pleading for something. She was not so loud so keenly I wanted to listen to her words, and all I could hear was “Mungu tuokoe kutokana na huu ugonjwa, watu wako wanaangamia… tuokoa naomba”. Her wailing passed chills through me, and at that moment, I was afraid.
I wanted to join in with her in that prayer. I sat up on my bed in silence and heard her going on and on. I could hear that she was weeping. She was weeping for the salvation of her soul, that of her family and by extension, the redemption of her country and the world at large. She was dismayed; she was terrified; no words can explain her horror. So I whispered a word of prayer to God as well. While at it, all that could go wrong because of Coronacirus came on my mind. I thought of the many families in Kenya that are not having enough to eat since the breadwinner is not working due to the curfew, social distancing, and company cutbacks. I thought of the many who cannot afford to buy enough to eat in case of a 21-day lockdown, I thought of how devastating it would be if the people on the streets contact COVID-19. My whole self in that moment of prayer shivered in fear.
As soon as she was about to finish her prayer, her voice went lower than it was, her words become more satisfied and calm, it was as if God had given her a tap on the back, it was as if she was comforted and her fear was no more. Then It came to my mind a word that my youngest sister loved reading to us in our family devotion time- “Do not be afraid for I am with you (Isaiah 41:10).”
I didn’t know the reference, and I started meditating about those words. “Do not be afraid Sadam for I am with you” I quoted it inserting my name. In that meditation, I asked myself why I should not be afraid? Answer “for I am with you” Who is with me? I asked myself, Answer “GOD”. God the make of the universe, the King of kings, the wonder of a counsellor, mighty God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6). God is with me; he is Emanuel! These were wonderful thoughts that brought peace into my heart. I will show you how in a bit.
In the morning, I looked up the words “do not be afraid for I am with you” to find its reference in the Bible and read it in its context. I found it in Isaiah 41:10. Here God is boasting of his mighty works against the nations and kings who were not in a relationship with him (Isaiah 41:1-7). In Isaiah 41:8, God points out the people Israel; he points them out based on the relationship he has with them. Unlike the rest of the nations, God calls Israel My servant whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend. In Isaiah 41:9, he reminds them of delivering them from the farthest corner of the earth-this is in reference to their slavery in Egypt and their adventurous journey through the wilderness to Canaan. These people God say that he will not cat them off because he has chosen them. Two times he refers to them as his chosen servants, thus his friends.
Why am I afraid?
There I was reading Isaiah 41:10 which says “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 focused on the word “fear” in this scripture. I began to think about why we are afraid and worried, to begin with. We are afraid because we know we cannot do anything to help the situation get any better. We are worried because the situation is out of our hands, and our back is against the wall.
When I was young and weak, I had so much trust in my elder brother’s strength, that no one could bully me. I knew he had my back, and still, he does. How much more is God? How much strength has he? Why am I not to be afraid? I am not to be fearful because God has called me and chosen me to be his servant, and so I am his friend (Isaiah 41:8). If I am I attacked, it is not me that is under attack, but God. Is Corona bigger than God? Is it powerful than the mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)? Is Corona going to last longer than the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)? Will Corona bring such havoc that the prince of peace cannot restore peace (Isaiah 9:6)? Certainly not!
Preach to yourself
We should not be afraid, for God is with us, we should not be dismayed for he is our God. God will strengthen us and help us during this pandemic. He will uphold- support us with his righteous hand (Isaiah 41:10). Preach to yourself these words. Tell your soul not to be afraid, if need be, memorise and meditate upon Isaiah 41:10. Encourage everyone around you. We are all in a pandemic, and things might just get worse than we think. However, we should remember that God is with us. Let us be sure that we will be delivered from all this triumphantly because God is with us.