By Pastor Royston Smith
What has the year been like so far? Fear, anxiety, and pain have engulfed many. Somehow the ongoing pandemic has stained and created a negative imprint in my mind that will last a lifetime. “I have never seen anything like this before.” This truly is an unforgettable year.
Challenges are an unwelcome but natural part of life. This realisation helps to build resilience. During the year many embraced many difficulties. My experience has been no different, in addition I prayed for the sick, visited the lonely, listened to and supported the bereaved. My faith in God gave me enormous confidence. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” Matthew 6:33. I believe one of ‘these things’ is health, so I was certain God would preserve me.
Our relationship with God grows through faith. Faith is the antidote for anxiety and fear. Faith does not immunize one from illness and pain. Though I have been shielded from COVID-19, I have not escaped the pain of sciatica. Nine days of Pain, loss of mobility and tears. Momentarily, my mind strayed from faith to pain. I questioned God and argued with him. My prayers were littered with moans and grumbles rather than trust and praise.
Eventually I was drawn to the book of Psalms. There I found sweet comfort. Psalm 56: 3-4, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”
Another verse for dealing with physical discomfort is Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
We are given the assurance of divine comfort in Psalm 147:3-5, “He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds.” God is healing through the process and you may not even know it. Things might be difficult, but we will find peace even while in pain, as long as we have faith. Finally, Psalm 94:19 emphasises God’s power to comfort us. “In the multitude of my anxieties within me. Your comforts delight my soul.”
2020 is the year filled with COVID concerns, fears, anxiety, perplexity, grief and pain. There is assurance in the Bible that God delights to comfort us and ease our sorrows. In times of exceeding hardships and deepest grief, Christ still speaks to our storms saying, “Peace be still”. Let him calm your storms today.
Dear Father, we are told to cast all our worries on you because you care for us. It provides such comfort. Thank you for the peace found in your presence, in the name of Jesus. Amen.