Things were easing off regarding restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Borders were beginning to open. Suddenly we are experiencing an amazing spike of the virus in Melbourne. We all knew that this could happen, but we were all hoping that it wouldn’t.
A friend of mine who lives in Melbourne was planning to visit Darwin in August with the woman he plans to marry. Today I received word from him that in view of the six weeks of lockdown, this will not now happen. In the message that I received today he said, ‘but I have recently been able to spend time with those I love’. He finished off by saying ‘please keep us in your prayers’!
I sense the uncertainty that this resurgence of the virus in Melbourne is causing throughout the country. I am quite sure that many of us are being affected at various levels by this uncertainty.
I really feel for the people of Melbourne who are not only with restricted movement, but also for so many for whom their livelihood is in jeopardy.
I seems that those people living in high rise public housing are suffering in an especially difficult way.
We never expected this to be happening Australia in this day and age! We are one of the richest counties on earth!
When I hear what is happening in Brazil, the country second only to the USA with the number of cases, I wonder what is happening in the shanty towns of Sao Paola and elsewhere among the Favelas (shanty towns) in the rest of the country.
Yemen, of course, is a country in the grip of war, and what a terrible situation this must be when it is combined with the effects of the virus.
Bad news can have a bad effect on us. Though at times tempting, it would be a mistake to go into some form of denial, pretending that bad things don’t happen.
For us Christians the sign of the cross has become a very important symbol.
I normally carry a cross around my neck. I was in a supermarket in Elizabeth in South Australia many years ago. A woman from a rather fundamentalist sect asked me why I was carrying a ‘coffin’ around my neck.
My response was that the cross, horrible as it is in itself, is also for me and millions of others, a sign of hope.
It is a great reminder that God shares our pain, our anxiety, our death! It is a great reminder that God walks with us as we face our challenges.
I do not think that lady was convinced!
However, I am convinced that God will never abandon us, and that His love endures for ever.
The cross is a prelude to resurrection. We can walk through pain, uncertainties, anxiety, fear, with hope because of Jesus and His message.
My friend’s mentioning of spending time with loved ones keeps reminding me of priorities.
Times like these keep reminding us to keep reflecting on what really matters and, yes, prayer does help give us hope in the middle of the storms of life.