Watch ourselves

What is the world coming to? Politicians are confident that we can overcome the pandemic and that things are getting better. Plans have been made to continue business and countries are beginning to allow selected groups of people to travel across borders.

On the other hand, Chinese scientists have discovered a new swine flu (named G4) capable of triggering a pandemic. A survey by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on 7 Sep 2020 shows that Singapore’s economy is expected to shrink by 6 per cent. This quarterly survey reflected the views of 26 economists and analysts.

So, what are we to believe? There is so much noise in the midst of COViD-19: too much input, resulting in information overload. How are we to react to the situation? Let’s look to scripture to guide our steps.

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 ESV)

The Bible is quite clear about the future of the world. It does not paint an encouraging picture of the way we manage our lives. We are warned to guard our hearts and not be caught unaware. Scripture urges us to be alert and to pray. As I reflect on the past weeks, I realise that there is an increase in prayer requests. Some have lost jobs, some feel the burden of added job requirements and others have been diagnosed with terminal illness. In these challenging times, I believe that uncertainty has pushed people to be more open. More people are coming to acknowledge that there are so many moving parts in life, and are more willing to seek help. Is there a colleague who has shared with you the difficulty that his father is going through? A schoolmate informing you that she is having problems coping with the virtual lessons? A friend that has not been in touch for years seeking to re-connect with the group? A relative struggling to feed the family because of unemployment? Did you just find out that an old Sunday School-mate passed away? We must not forget that we are in this world but not of this world. Our time here is limited. We must not allow the cares of this world to control us.

Someone once asked me an interesting question: Which is more important — the Great Commission or the Great Commandment? It is possible to devote much of one’s time and effort to sharing the gospel with people without heartfelt care and concern for them. On the other hand, one may focus so much energy on seeking God and developing one’s spiritual progress that one ceases to be of any use to the community. In our pursuit of God, it is important that we reach out to our fellow man. Our faith and our action must go hand-in-hand.

Once I was participating in a race, running along Punggol-Promenade Riverside Walk. It started to rain heavily, and by the time I reached Lorong Halus Red Bridge, I was totally drenched.  As I was having a 10-minute rest at Lorong Halus Wetland Kiosk, the rain stopped. At that time, it brought on mixed feelings. It was funny that I had just been drenched by a passing storm, yet I was thankful that I could continue to run the rest of the distance.

During this COViD-19 storm, the world is badly drenched. It may not come as a surprise intellectually as we have had news and warning for months. However, many are not emotionally prepared to accept the changes or loss that come with the pandemic. People are hurting, seeking and crying out. Am I bringing comfort and encouragement to people around me? Have I visited the sick? Have I given food to the needy? In the midst of this pandemic, am I doing more for Christ? Have I hidden behind being a “responsible” citizen and ignored the cries of those in need? Have I failed to pray for those I know require prayer support?

The lyrics of an old song go, “Have I done my best? Have I stood the test? Is He satisfied with me?” These are the questions that we ought to ask ourselves each night. May God grant us the grace to work hard for Him. As we go through this crisis, we are thankful that we can continue to run the race.     

Dn Richard Yew