When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit, many of us thought that it would be over in a few weeks, but it has turned into a miserable marathon. Here in Canada, we are deep into our second wave of the pandemic and things are looking dire. Yesterday, my home province of Alberta surpassed Ontario in being the province with the most active cases of Covid, even though Alberta has one third the population that Ontario does. So how do we respond to the situation we find ourselves in? I think that this is a time in history when it is crucial that we live in a close, intimate relationship with God so that we can respond well to this pandemic for our own sake and for the sake of others.
So how do we do that? In three ways. First, we run to God. What does that mean? We take all of our griefs, sorrows and worries to God and receive the comfort He has for us. In Psalm 34:18 we read, The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. This is not a time to try to make our way through life all on our own. God is ready and waiting to embrace us with His love and comfort us with His presence. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,” Jesus said, “and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
Second, we live in God. Knowing God and the love, mercy, forgiveness and grace that He has for us, we rest in God and His love on a moment by moment basis. We live with joyful dependence knowing that, no matter how big the challenge before us, God will always carry us through. As we read in Romans 8, nothing, not even death will separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. So we receive from and rely upon God for everything that we need in life.
Third, we live for others. With the guidance and resources God gives, we are free to love others with the love that He has first given us. In 1 John 4, starting with verse 10, we read: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:10-12)
Dear friends, this is a time for us to be comforted and nourished by God so that we can love others with that same kind of selfless, sacrificial love. It is what the world needs more than ever right now. And because of Jesus, it is in you to give. Amen.