As the Covid-19 virus raged insidiously against the world in the past year, many of us were confronted with our human frailty and wrestled with our mortality. Fears and anxieties may have begun to creep into our hearts as we wondered where and what God was doing in this season. Has God forsaken us at a time when we needed Him most? What would we tell our children and the next generation about Covid-19 and God?
Psalm 90, the oldest of the all the Psalms in the Bible, offers us guidance for living with hope in troubled times. Written by Moses, one of the themes in this psalm is the tension/relationship between an eternal God and the transience of life in difficult times.
“Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us–yes, establish the work of our hands.” – Psalm 90:13-17 (NIV)
In our brief time on earth, we can expect trouble and affliction. Moses therefore exhorts us to live wisely in relation to our eternal God (Psalm 90:12), by seeking true wisdom that comes from His Word and from having an intimate relationship with Him.
God cares. While our present circumstances may be challenging, God is a compassionate and gracious Father who cares for us. Compassion is God’s unchanging character (Exodus 34:6). He understands our troubles and sorrows (Psalm 90:10, 13), and will not abandon us.
God satisfies. God satisfies our deepest longings, not with material things or achievements, but with His unfailing love (Hebrew translation: hesed) and gladness of heart all our days. He gives us a song to sing to Him. What great encouragement this is! Regardless of our circumstances, God remains our source of joy and fills our hearts with gladness all our days, if we would only allow Him to.
God remembers. God remembers us in hard times, and will work our temporary afflictions together for our good, and for His glory. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Our future gladness that comes with sharing in God’s glory will surpass our present sorrows.
God acts. Our God is a God of the generations. Though we may not understand the workings of God fully on this side of heaven, God’s acts of judgment and deliverance serve to demonstrate His power and glory to present and future generations. Like those from the older generation who would share with us stories about the Japanese occupation, we too will tell the next generation how God delivered us through the Covid-19 pandemic.
God establishes. God has an endgame and plan for our lives. Nothing can thwart His purposes. Frail, limited and sinful as we are, His unfailing love and favour can transform us to His own likeness as we seek to live with godly wisdom.
Let us take heart, for God has not forsaken us and continues to accomplish His plans and purposes during this difficult season. Despite the burdens and brevity of life, we can choose to live wisely by remaining hopeful and trusting in Him.
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