Coronavirus is changing everything here in the UK, just as it is around the world. People are having to organise their lives differently, and work out how we can do life together, but at the same time, apart. Our thoughts and our prayers must be with those for whom coronavirus will have the biggest impact – especially those who have, or will lose, loved ones, but also those facing uncertain futures over jobs and businesses, the stress on the NHS and young people concerned for their exams this summer.
As our churches close, too, we are all having to work out how we can continue to worship God as a community whilst not being in the same building, and how we can love and encourage one another still. I am going to have to work out how to pastor people without being physically present with them.
How many of us have been prepared for such a time as this? Whilst pandemics have always been predicted, it has always seemed like something that won’t happen to us. As we waved goodbye to 2019, none could have foreseen that 2020 would be like this. Yet here we are. We wish it were otherwise, but this is the reality we are faced with. This won’t be forever – and that’s so important to remember – but it is for now.
And whilst we work our way through this, we need to be careful not to think too far ahead. Not so much living for now, but trusting God in the here and now when that’s all we can see or manage. Jesus told us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” a reminder that we rely on God to provide for us every day.
Despite the changes we face to our lives due to these strange and unsettling times, we can be reassured that God has not changed. He still sits upon his throne. All things remain in his hands, even the coronavirus. His loving purposes for his world have not shifted, and his character remains as it was before. He remains trustworthy. Assailed though we may be by doubts and fears, God is the Rock on which we can safely build our lives, even when everything else is shifting around us.
Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
The crucified, risen and ascended Lord Jesus remains Lord of all. Trust him – especially now.