COVID-19: 4 amazing ways God is working in this season
Lee Huanyan // April 1, 2020, 3:20 pm
The past two months have been a trying time for the world, with the global outbreak of COVID-19. It is no different in Singapore, where many of us are affected one way or another.
For the ordinary people, COVID-19 seems to strike terror and uncertainty in their hearts. For the churches, it became an even bigger issue when two churches became clusters of local outbreak. People began asking whether they should still go to church on the weekend.
In the midst of difficult times, it is easy to miss how God is working in our midst. After all, if God is sovereign, then what is He doing? Why has He not protected His Church? Why are Christians not spared from COVID-19?
As I observed how churches are responding to COVID-19, I am beginning to realise that asking God to protect us from COVID-19 is the wrong starting point.
If God really works for the good of those who love Him in all things (Romans 8:28), then Christians must definitely see God’s purpose in all this – despite Christians getting COVID-19 and even dying from it.
Here are 4 reflections on how I’ve seen God work in this COVID-19 outbreak.
1. RETHINKING THE MEANING OF CHURCH
As part of the leadership team in one of my church’s satellite centres, the outbreak presented us a challenge – people stopped coming to church out of fear that they will come into contact with others and get infected with the disease. Indeed, that is a legitimate concern.
After all, as a father with a young toddler and a pregnant wife, I was concerned as well that the two girls in my family could catch the virus from someone in church.
To address these concerns, my church initially decided that it would be better to cancel all events with 50 or more participants, other than our weekend worship services. Precautionary measures were put in place. For cancelled events such as prayer meetings and Bible seminars, we moved them online so that people could still gather virtually in smaller settings.
Since the latest government advisory, all our services and cell group meetings are now conducted online.
That is when I realised that God was doing something special in all this.
When I gathered my cell group to watch the livestream, we found that people were more engaged and attentive. For example in our online Bible seminar, we were able to note down the learning points and yet have time during the breaks and post-seminar to discuss our learnings together.
COVID-19 has forced us to rethink what it means to be the Church.
The Church is not a building, nor is it an event.
After all, Christ did not die for the building or the events that we plan. He died for every single individual in His Church, who eventually became fellow citizens and members of God’s household (Ephesians 2:11-16).
2. CHRISTIANS RALLYING TOGETHER
As the Church rethinks what it means to gather as God’s people, it is also a chance for us to be God’s testimony in this world. This is a time when we can bring light to darkness.
The cell group that I am leading went around our neighbourhood to give out pamphlets educating kids about COVID-19 and also distributed fruits to the residents. Other cell groups in my church have also blessed their neighbours with hand sanitisers and other necessities for this season.
I’ve also read that there are churches that have gone out of their way to reach out to the frontline workers.
It is in times like this that God can use the Church to be a blessing to the world, even though we may all be similarly affected.
3. OVERCOMING FEAR AND MOVING IN FAITH
When trials and testings happen to Christians, these are opportunities for God to mature our faith. This is really a moment for churches to disciple their people, for us to move out of fear and to move in faith.
It is important to watch how we respond to the current crisis as this will partly reflect how we will respond during tougher times, such as end-times persecution.
I was so encouraged when I read the responses from Grace Assembly of God when they became one of the outbreak clusters. This became an opportunity for the people in the church to gather and pray more than ever before. It is almost as if a spiritual revival was happening in the church.
4. SEEING GOD’S VICTORY IN TRIALS
As we reached out to bless our communities and gather in different ways during this period, we are also seeing how God is enabling us to be victorious even in trials.
This is no surprise, given that Christ has already gained victory over sin on the cross, and over death in His resurrection. In Him, we already have victory over the things that has held us in bondage.
Indeed, it has been tough for the Church. But as we look beyond the tough times, do we see the amazing things that God is doing in our midst?
As C.S. Lewis puts it, pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
Perhaps this is the time for God to draw attention to what He can really do through His Church – if we are faithful to His calling as His people.
THINK + TALK
- What can you give thanks for in this season?
- What is one thing that you’re learning?
- How can you be a blessing to someone today?