A thought for the day

march 17, 2020

What are you doing at home during the Coronavirus lockdown?

Of late, articles informing people on how to boost their immune system or increase their well-being have been popping up on news streams. Also, many news channels have been sharing what people have been doing now that families are confined to their homes. The articles and news reports provide some good advice on how to eat better, exercise at home and grow bonds with family members. We encourage you to find a variety of activities to better your health, to increase your knowledge of different subjects (audio books?), to learn new skills (gardening?), etc. in order to fight boredom and cabin-fever. More so, we encourage you to do something that many faithful brethren confess they normally lack the time or energy to do because they are so busy with work and life - to read, mediate upon and study the word of God.

You will on the average save 2 hours a day because you are not commuting to work or going out to do errands or taking your children out to their many sporting events and extra-curricular activities. Why not use that extra time to read the word, meditate upon the word and study the word? We encourage you to do this not just to increase your knowledge of God’s word, but so that you can receive something that we all need during this time of instability and insecurity - encouragement and strength. Yes, those articles on improving your immune system and health may help you physically endure and those news reports on how families are spending more time together doing fun and interesting activities may help you stay mentally fresh, but what is going to encourage and strengthen your spirit, your soul?

In Psalm 119:25, the Psalmist starts v.25 crying out, “My soul clings to the dust;” confessing that he is at a low point. He has hit rock bottom. He does not have anymore options. He is feeling helpless, discouraged and depressed. He feels lifeless. Hopefully, none of you are feeling lifeless right now, but if this lockdown continues, many of us may reach a point where we feel tired, weary and lifeless. But, before you hit such a point, why not take prophylactic measures? Why not “nip it in the bud?” How? Devote time to read, meditate upon and study God’s word. The Psalmist finishes v.25 declaring, “[revive my life] according to your word!” He knows that the life of the soul, the spirit is revived and sustained by God’s word. The Psalmist does not just pray and ask God to revive his soul. He takes action, turns to the word and asks that God uses it to refresh his spirit and revive his life. When we grow discouraged and are depressed about our life situation, we need revival - our souls need encouragement to live and to do so abundantly. Our souls need God’s word.

In Psalm 119:28, the Psalmist cries, “My soul is weary with sorrow” (NIV); declaring that he does not know how much longer he can persevere or how much more he can bear the sorrow in his life. We do not know the exact life situation under which the Psalmist writes this verse, but we can empathize with him. We have been, we are and we can be in situations where we find our souls overwhelmed by sorrow for an extended period of time. Bearing such a burden is difficult. We can endure only for so long, before we run out of gas. We get tired and eventually, we reach a point of “learned helplessness” where all we want to do is find a safe corner, curl up into a ball and whimper - wishing for the pain and the sorrow to stop while hopelessly accepting that the dull, aching, throbbing pain in our souls may not go away.

How do we respond to such despair? How do we deal with such hopelessness? The Psalmist answers in v.28, “strengthen me according to your word.” He expresses that God has given us his word as a means or an instrument of his grace, to provide us strength beyond our own strength so that we may persevere beyond our own abilities (2 Corinthians 12:8-10, Acts 20:32). Persevere to what ends? Are we to persevere for the sake of persevering? No, God our Heavenly Father calls us to persevere with the promise that in his good time, he will make all things beautiful (Ecc 3:11, Galatians 6:9).

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to reach a point where you feel lifeless or hopeless in your soul during this Coronavirus outbreak. We hope and pray that you will turn to God’s word to find encouragement and strength for your soul before you reach that point. “Prevention is truly better than a cure.” We ask you to take some of the “extra” time that you now have to read, to meditate upon and to study the word of God so that you may find grace for your souls.

Some say that a “silver lining” in the coronavirus lockdown is the extra time they now have to spend with their family. We agree. We hope that you will spend a lot of quality time at home with your loved ones and build good, lasting memories with them during the lockdown. We encourage you, likewise, to devote time to read, meditate upon and study his word. When things were normal, you may have wished that you had more time to read God’s word, but now, you have more time. So, let us set apart some time to read the word and plant seeds of truth into our souls that God will use to produce a rich harvest of encouragement and strength in us for the days, weeks and months to come.

In His Grace Alone,

Pastor John O