CORONA CHALLENGE GIVES US NEW POSSIBILITIES
From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take. (1 Chronicles 12:33)
I have picked up words that picture what was going on in the time of David’s reign. David was a clever king and I think his success depended on three pillars. First, he was a man who relied on God for what he wanted to do. This is why, if you read in the following verses, you will notice that he was asking for God’s will before he did something: compare 1 Sam. 23:1–5, 10–14; 30:8–9; 2 Sam. 2:1–2; 5:17–25; 21:1.
Then, David was a person who trusted that God can use people around him also to accomplish His purpose. This is why David respected people and always gave them an opportunity to do what he believed God has entrusted in them. He did not restrict them. This is why it is not by accident that there were people from Issachar, who knew how to read the situation and would understand what Israeli should do at moments like those.
God has given different roles to different people in our societies. Most of us are always willing to do this or that, but leaders like David are missing. Organizing the people around us that they can do something for the kingdom of God hasn’t been easy. It is the challenge we take every day and it is the goal we have to reach.
In countries like Tanzania where “the culture of I am because we are” is so strong, you will find that it is almost impossible to control people from crowding especially in public transports and social gatherings like funerals, weddings, and religious gatherings. We even ironically say in Tanzania buses never get full, churches never get full etc. But, does COVID–19 know the “I am because we are?”
In some countries, colleges, libraries, schools, churches and mission organizations are now closed. If we are not as wise as the people of Issachar to read the situation we have and then tell each other what to do, most of us will die spiritually, and most of the works, especially those that depend solely on offerings will eventually. And at the end of the scene we must ask ourselves: is COVID–19 having power to stop our spiritual life and the mission, or Our spiritual life and mission has power to stop COVID–19?
Here is where wisdom is needed. In a situation like this we need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Some facts we need to consider include: First, stopping the gatherings we used to have does not mean we have stopped worshiping God. God is not bound to places, He is even in our homes, let us worship Him in our homes too. Meanwhile, the first Christians did not have churches like we have today, yet they were strong in faith and God did a lot through them. We are now brought to where everything begun. I see this as a means that brings us back to where Christianity began. If we use this situation properly, we will revive family prayers and again our homes will be places where the name of the Lord is proclaimed. And in countries where it is difficult to control the crowding, more education and special effort are required. Let us do our best to educate the citizens. We are calling upon the ambassadors to play their role in disseminating the helpful information that will help people stay safe.
Second, God is not bound only to bigger groups. He is the God who relates with everybody and therefore hears individual prayers like He does for the collective prayers. Meanwhile, being in groups sometimes our personal roles and strengths are swallowed by the stronger ones. While we need groups and collective moments, we must understand that God relates to us personally. It is therefore a nice moment to spend time alone with God. One even said that our true identity is determined by what we do when we are alone. That is to say, our true relationship with God is sometimes strengthened when we are alone with Him. Now we are forced to be either alone or with close people only. Let us see this as an opportunity that will strengthen us spiritually.
Dear friends, while we are not gatherings anymore, our enemy does not fear COVID–19. He is busy at work. But the good news is that our Heavenly Father is in control of everything, because He rules everywhere and is always at work. But amid this terror the world experiences, God wants to continue His work through His church and through the organizations. We are the organization that can operate even without physical meeting. We are scattered all over the world. We can organize ourselves and pray hard for God’s work not to stop. Why pray hard? It is because this is a hard and teasing time. We thank you that by reading this message you take this situation seriously.
We are used to saying, when one door is closed, let us look around, there might be another door that is open. So far we have been struggling to get people to the events the church organizes. There have been several attempts to make use of social media to reach the unreachable because many people have moved to social media. I think let us keep praying that God gives wisdom to people who will develop ideas that will not leave anybody outside.
While COVID-19 is giving us hard time, let us encourage one another that we worship the living God and His power is above every power we know. Our mission cannot be stopped by COVID-19. The love of God, the power of God, and His faithfulness towards us are stronger than this dreadful disease. Our God is in control. We should not fear, but rather trust in Him for He has said, even if we went through flames of fire, or floods of waters, He will always be with us (Isaiah 43:2). He is the same God who said,
At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land (2 Chronicles 7:13–14). God is faithful. What He has promised He will do. Let us turn to Him, call upon His name, He will surely act for our best
© Gerson Mgaya