The past few months have been tough for many of us as we try to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic – monitoring the daily numbers of confirmed cases, adhering to stringent Circuit Breaker measures, being required to stay home and go out only when absolutely necessary. For many, losing our jobs or businesses as well as the fear of our loved ones or ourselves getting infected is a frightening possibility. Being cooped up at home for a prolonged period, especially for our seniors and those living alone, only added on to our distress. Our physical and mental health may suffer without us realising it.
In this unprecedented time, I am once again reminded of Psalm 121, one of the favourite passages that I often mediate on when I am feeling downcast.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
James Montgomery Boice, an American theologian, wrote “What he (the psalmist) is telling us is that his gaze did not stop when he looked upward to the hills but that he looked beyond them to God, who made the mountains”. Indeed we are assured in the latter part of the psalm (vv 3-8) that God, who made heaven and earth, is capable of keeping us from all harm and danger. He who never slumbers nor sleeps will protect us from the evil one every single step we take on our journey.
He will watch over us whether we are asleep or awake. He will protect us from the scourging heat during the day as well as the freezing cold at night. Indeed, “the sole source of ‘help’ comes from Yahweh, who as Creator, has unlimited power” (William A. VanGemeren). We are under God’s sovereign care and protection at all times and in all circumstances. For in Ps 121:8, the psalmist declares on our behalf that “The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore”. Our God is our divine help and keeper.
By God’s grace, we get to humble ourselves when we cast our fears and anxieties on Him because we are His precious children. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcome the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5). Jesus, himself, personally assured us in John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world”. Our Lord Jesus overcame death when he went to the cross on our behalf two thousand years ago, and by His death we now have that guaranteed peace when we abide in Him.
Let us therefore rally together, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in prayer and in faith as we courageously enter into a new way of life during this period. It may take a year or two or even longer. Together “let us run with endurance the race that is set beside before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2) and let us also “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:23-24). For in Romans 8:37, the apostle Paul declared, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us”. Stay Safe! Stay in Christ, the Overcomer of the World! Amen.
By Brother Vincent Lim (YCKC Bulletin 14 June 2020)