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Tony's Reflection: 6
My dad, now 90, still remembers gathering with his family around the radio, to listen to Winston Churchill's speeches during the war. Mr Churchill breathed courage and inspiration into the whole country during those difficult days. Dad and his entire family all stopped everything when Mr Churchill was on air. They hung on his every word. Maybe we have been the same, watching Boris’ daily briefings?
Whether or not you have been turning to Boris for a sense of perspective, the war time generation certainly did turn to Winston Churchill for perspective, hope and encouragement.
One of God’s intentions right now is that this virus should cause us to turn to him, for perspective, hope and encouragement.
Last week, we saw from Amos 3:6 that God has a good purpose in sending this virus, even though the forces of evil have jumped in to use the virus to bring fear and destruction. Let's hear from Amos what that good purpose is. He says:
“I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not turned to me.
I sent plagues among you, yet you have not turned to me …”
All these things God had sent to get people to turn to him. In Amos’ day, disaster and disease had come. God has been there in heaven waiting for his people to turn to him… and nothing has happened. They hadn't changed at all. God just couldn't believe it.
Coming to our day, we have so much in our normal lives that distracts us from God. The pressures of earning a living. The pleasures of sport and recreation. For some of us, even the busy-ness of church. And now, many of these things are gone.
Life has changed and slowed down. We have time to pause and think. We have a reminder through Covid-19 of just how short and fragile our life is. We are faced by a killer virus and, at least for now, our best science and medicine cannot defeat it.
Are we using this time to pause? Is the reminder of just how small and vulnerable we are, turning us to God?
That turning to God begins in our heart. It means coming closer to him. Seeing anew just how much we depend on him. We depend on him for our safety. We depend on him for the very air in our lungs. We depend on him for our hearts to carry on beating.
Maybe this crisis has made you pray for someone to be kept safe, when you don't normally pray that much. Perhaps you are reading these reflections, as someone who doesn’t normally hear a weekly message from a preacher. You might be an experienced Christian, but now when you come before God there is a new edge, a new sense of how much you depend on him.
If that is you, then you are doing exactly what God wants you to do in all this. To turn to God, you do not have to be reading your Bible all day, or spending hours in prayer. (Reading your Bible and praying will definitely help, though! )
What matters is that you are turning to God. You are focusing on him in a new way. I have one friend who does this while sewing. Another while gardening. Another while running.
It doesn't matter so much what you are doing. It does matter where your heart is. Is it turned to God, with a new sense of your smallness and his greatness, your vulnerability and his power?
Turn to God …
We will hear more from Amos next week on the perspective, hope and encouragement God has for us, as we turn to him.