When the going gets tough

Today has brought the unwelcome news of a rapid upsurge in the spread of the “second wave” of Covid 19, coming down the country from the North West, with the expectation that later on today the Government will be re-imposing stricter restrictions, with all the impact that will have on our lives, our livelihoods and our mental health. Many of us will be feeling the heaviness and distress of the potential of yet more months of being shut in, or at least not seeing our loved ones. One of the things said at the briefing today was that the virus thrives on what we love, need and benefit from most – contact with other people, something written into our DNA by God our Creator in Genesis 2 verse 18 – “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”  As relational beings, designed by a God Who lives in relationship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,  this virus is particularly cruel when it robs us of this part of who we are. It’s very easy to see things as really bleak, like a very dark cloud coming towards us bringing really bad weather, or a massive army advancing on us ready to overwhelm and defeat us. That means its very easy to be afraid and imagine that all is lost and we are on our own.

But we’re not. God has not abandoned us; nor is the virus too strong for Him. Rather than give up, let’s be encouraged by God’s word in 2 Kings chapter 6 where Elisha and his servant faced a situation where the King of Aram sent an overwhelming force to capture the two of them – a classical case of taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ The servant asked. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all round Elisha.” And of course with God’s help Elisha and his servant were not only not overwhelmed, they emerged victorious from the encounter. It’s a good read!

The point is that we are not alone either. God is at work on our behalf, and He will never stop being at work on our behalf. We can be sure of this because of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. Today my prayer for all of us is that God would open our eyes so that we, too, can see that those who are with us are greater than this thing that is against us. This is actually something we can do every day, if we have the eyes to see – and when we do this we can indeed not be afraid.

To quote the song, “there may be trouble ahead” over the winter months, the going will get tough. But when the going gets tough, we don’t need to get going, nor do we need to “face the music and dance” – all we need to do is open up our eyes and see that we, too, are surrounded by God’s angel armies; we have the God of Angel Armies on our side. And one day He will rescue us from Covid 19, just as He rescued Elisha and his servant. So, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” (1 Chronicles 16v11). With Him we can face and overcome anything.

God bless, stay well