In this world, there are countries that do not enjoy the kind of richness of life that God has put in weather as other countries like here in Finland. Every year we have four seasons to wonder: the Spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Each season has its own beauties! Think of the beautiful colours of the leaves in autumn, then come to the white snow and all the joy it brings amid the dark season! Look at the spring which promises the plenty of life that comes in the green and warm summers. Every season is awesome!
When one of these seasons is not as it is used to be, we are often disappointed because we are then not able to do what we are used to doing in a season like that. A good example is the winter of this year (2020). There hasn’t been much snow as other years!
Skiing and even those lakes that freeze making it possible for cars to pass on them, hasn’t been done.
Now try to think what effect this kind of winter has to the nature? Maybe the soil did not get enough snow to produce what it should have produced. May be the bears did not have enough winter sleep and if there are animals or insects that reproduce during that time, we must expect that things will not be as they have been in other years. Even for some people whose sports make them earn something during winter sports, they did not have the best of it. Nevertheless, trees were without leaves as it has always been in other years.
Our four seasons tell us something great spiritually. Whether it is winter, spring, summer or autumn, life has always continued, and we have never stopped in doing anything! When we get a unique winter, we have always reorganized, and things have always run normally. The first time I visited Finland, back in 2003, I wondered how people manage during winter. But the stories I heard and what I myself have observed, I see that people are always busy whether it is winter or summer. Nothing stops.
In life, we have almost the same four different seasons that make a year. Childhood, youth, adulthood, and old age. Old age is the stage of life in which whether we like or not, some problems visit us! Some of us find there is no strength in them, others lose memory whereas others face recurring sicknesses. But life goes on–and thank God that nobody gives up living!
Then we have another face of the life–the ups and downs that can be caused by anything! Anybody (child, young, adult or old person, a Christian or non-Christian) can encounter them. This is why we hear or see people from whatever background get accident, become sick or even die. We are in the world where things run their course and we all become victims. But how do we react to those tragedies?
Isaiah writes that
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2).
This is a great assurance for us that God’s presence with us does not depend on what is around us or on what we face! Just as life goes on in summer, autumn, winter, and Spring, life is meant to continue normally also in times we consider as downs.
This year the whole world was hit by corona. Many companies, organizations and institutions suffered loss to the point that either they had to close down or reduce its workers. Amid all these, there was an annoying question: where is God?
Do we ask the same question when the situation is better? The season we have gone through this year has reminded us that, no matter what life or the world gives us, God remains to be our God. His presence is always with us. We should not lose sight on Him, neither should we think bad of Him. On the contrary, we should learn to sanctify Him in all seasons (1 Peter 3:15a), even when we do not understand what He is doing. It is by fixing our eyes onto Him that we will know what He is doing, and like Paul, we will come to say, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
We are so thankful to God that He has carried us through this peril. It would be so great to hear stories and witnesses from different corners of the world. Whatever one has experienced or has heard people experience, it would make sense!
I have seen people here being forced to go for holiday and others losing jobs. In our organization, they called us and wanted to give us a forced holiday. I told them that as an employee, I have no objection. Do as you wish. But as a pastor, I advise you do not do it. It will make more harms to the organization than what you think. This is not the time to do what you want to do, rather it is the time to focus on God than on the economy. I can work even without salary, but I know God will not make us reach that situation. And you know what? All the time of quarantine, we have not missed salaries. On the contrary, we have learned new ways to reach people. And now, every day we have online daily devotions. People are so happy to hear good news every day!
While COVID-19 has done harm and has takes the lives of our beloveds, we cannot ignore the lessons it has left behind. I wish and I here call upon every ambassador to write something! Even those negative sides, please do in that way we can think together what to do! I wish you God’s blessing!
Rev. Dr. Gerson Mgaya
GPENreformation ambassador – Tanzania
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