Bad news won’t stop, so how far can your faith go?
Nathanael Jerome Tan, Media Ministry of Cru Singapore // July 14, 2020, 5:14 pm
In every corner of the world, the coronavirus has contributed to death, isolation, economic hardship, rampant fear and widening cracks in existing social issues.
Just today, we received reports that Singapore has entered a “technical recession”, with our GDP shrinking a whopping 41.2% from the last financial quarter due to COVID-19. Yesterday, it was global news that the number of COVID-19 cases rose by 1 million in just 5 days.
I’m sure you might know of family members, friends and friends of friends who have lost their jobs or taken paycuts, had their plans destroyed or disrupted, or have even contracted the virus.
And in the midst of that, we keenly felt the digital uproar over racial injustice, sparked off by George Floyd’s tragic passing in the United States, and the ripples of the rising cancel culture on our shores.
You would agree that there is so much fear and uncertainty in the world right now, perhaps more than ever. All the more, we need to exercise our faith, strengthening our spiritual muscles so we can prepare to live it out for the long haul.
A while back, when I was still in the army, I tore my ACL. It was extremely painful and I basically had to limp around. I couldn’t stand or walk and it was hard to do anything that required moving.
When a friend of mine who previously had a similar injury told me how he had to be in a wheelchair for months and that even after healing, his knee didn’t really heal up well – I was terrified.
The prospect of losing what I had always known as working, playing, living shook me to the core.
And it’s very easy, when faced with great uncertainty, to immediately think of the very worst scenarios, the extremes of what could, would or might happen next. That familiar spiral into a dark, scary and hopeless place.
We might think that as Christians, having fears is wrong and that if we have faith, we should never be afraid. Perfect loves drives out all fear, right?
But we are actually not on the wrong track, just halfway there! Having faith in God doesn’t mean you don’t feel any fear, it simply means that you refuse to let that fear stop you from still choosing to trust Him.
“Our fears show how we’re relying on our own efforts and not trusting in our Saviour.”
Our fears should drive us to God, and to acknowledge Him and surrender our whole lives and circumstances to Him.
In doing so, we let perfect love into our hearts and trust in its power to reinstate peace in place of fear.
As Craig Groeschel, Senior Pastor of Life Church, USA, writes in his book, Dangerous Prayers: “Our fears matter. Because ultimately, our fears show how we’re relying on our own efforts and not trusting in our Saviour.”
When we recognise and deal with the root issues of where our fears lie, we are choosing to bring our very real fears and placing them at the feet of Jesus instead. We remind ourselves who rules our hearts and minds.
As I was feeling anxious about my ACL injury, that same friend who had a similar experience encouraged me to look to God, to seek Him to find rest in His word.
One of the books I read that reframed my perspectives during that difficult time was Shelter in God by David Jeremiah, which gave me a picture of victory over fear as a Christian who trusts God.
“I cannot tell you what the future holds, but I do know from Scripture how God has used times of sheltering in the past. And I can tell you this: The God who sheltered His people in biblical days won’t stop now.” (Shelter in God, David Jeremiah)
I could rely on God to shelter me from the storm, this trial of faith. As I continued reading the biblical writings such Psalms and other Christian literature, I felt the reassurance of His sovereignty over my life gradually restored.
My ACL is all healed now and I have pretty much resumed a normal life, apart from being a little cautious when I run because of my prior injury.
But my level of faith has definitely increased from that harrowing experience.
Looking back, I can say with conviction that we are blessed beyond measure to have the assurance of God’s presence as His people. Not everyone does.
There’s definitely someone you know who needs to find shelter in God during this time of global unrest. That someone might be a family member, a friend, a colleague, your neighbour.
This is also why my faith – and your faith – matters all the more today. It matters because how we behave and respond in faith allows others to see Christ in us amidst the very real fears in this world.
I would like to end with a prayer for the Church:
Shake us, Lord, when we are overly comfortable; when our aspirations have been fulfilled because of our meagre goals; when we rather stay in our comfort zone and not rock the boat.
Revive us, Lord, when we are happy with our abundance of material possessions; when we have lost our hunger for the Bread of Life while residing in cushy lifestyles; when we have forgotten about eternity and are storing up treasures on earth instead of heaven.
Push us, Lord, to venture boldly into uncharted waters, deeper into places where we have never gone before with You, where our faith will be made stronger and our hope will be in You alone.
Lead us, Lord, where our trust will be tested and grown, where our souls must learn to rest in your shelter Lord.
Father, we ask all this in Christ who is our living hope and our strength in times of need, Amen.
Strengthen your faith in these troubled times with some of the best in Christian literature (yes, Bibles included) at the CRU Media Ministry online sale, taking place from now till July 26, 2020. Visit their page to find out more.
THINK + TALK
- How are you feeling about the social unrests of our day?
- Are there any fears in your heart about the future? What are they?
- Do you know anyone who might be struggling during this time? How can you support them?
- How can you exercise your faith in God to go the distance, come what may?