A long-overdue post. The Lent in year 2020 seemed to have just passed, in a blink of an eye, we are now well over with the Lent of 2021.
A New Life with Jesus
He is risen. To me, 2020 was special because we were all learning and relearning what it means to stay connected. Jesus died and rose again–we heard this same story over and again but it gave new light to me because of the waves that swept us off our feet. Through this pandemic, I have realized a new life is given not to change the situation but to change our hearts to the same situation we are in.
We are definitely blessed as Singaporeans. I believe, to the best of my knowledge, we are well-protected by a government who cares enough to make decisions for its people as timely as they can to respond to the situation in consideration for the people and to manage the crisis. We make mistakes but quick enough to make revisions to work things out for the better. However, our hearts seem to be hardened by the wealth of comfort that we have been showered with all this while. Very often, we fail to see it is not the same for many, many people outside the borders of our small island. Lives are so much more affected compared to the inconvenience we have been experiencing–the poor became poorer, people are dying and dead bodies are piling up.
Faith in Jesus
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29)
Situation as such, a pandemic, calls for people’s hearts to return to Jesus. It is trying and it is through trials and tribulations that our faith can be strengthened for those of us who have seen and an opportunity for those have yet to see to get on board with us. We have a good, good Father who has given has freedom of choice. We can choose to believe and continue to believe that crisis as such is an opportunity for God’s love to be displayed. Our God can use us to touch lives with our willing hearts and out of this posture we gain more because our faith will be strengthened. Lives around us are touched by the love of God because of our transformed living. The equation is simple.
Hope in Jesus
The object of hope is future. The experience of hope is present. And that present experience is powerful. Hope is power. Present power. Hope keeps people from killing themselves—now. (John Piper, Coronavirus and Christ)
The secret of “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” is this: knowing that the same sovereignty that could stop the coronavirus, yet doesn’t, is the very sovereignty that sustains the soul in it. Indeed, more than sustains—sweetens. Sweetens with hope that God’s purposes are kind, even in death—for those who trust him. What then do we hope for? What then, is a better tomorrow? May the better tomorrow we can have lies in the present power we bear from the hope that so sweetens our soul.
Love for Jesus
This pandemic, we lost a dear sister-in-Christ to cancer. My encounter with her was brief but impactful. The way she had chosen to live her life is exemplary in a way to follow her as she followed Christ. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:19-25 ESV)
This sister-in-Christ has made scripture alive for me because of how I saw her displayed her faith, hope and love to and for the Almightly God, our Abba Father, the King of kings in her lifetime till she breathed her last. We miss her dearly now but we know we will meet again in our new bodies. (Philippians 3:21)
Coronavirus and Christ, Novel by John Piper, originally published on 8 Apr 2020
(Featured image: Jurong Lake Gardens, Singapore; January 2021)
His beautiful & relentless love makes a soul relentlessly beautiful.