By Pastor Royston Smith
Thank God for 1st January 1983. Thank God.
Regardless of culture, class or creed, COVID-19 has negatively impacted all families in a variety of ways, our church being no exception. Religious people have been unable to celebrate or participate in many regular religious rites. Some have experienced emotional and physical trauma. Indeed, we must thank God for the internet; digital technology has become vital to the survival of the church and its community.
Visiting a member, having a laugh, a talk and reflecting on their journey, formed the backbone of my pastoral care. How things have changed! The lockdown has prevented that sort of personal interaction however, new creative ways have emerged. Though an imperfect substitute, the internet has been an absolute lifesaver. Despite social distancing and the lack of face-to-face visits, we pastors have still found ample opportunity to connect with members and to provide well-needed support, albeit virtually.
January 1, 1983 is considered the official birthday of the internet. Back then its importance could not have been predicted. But God in His wisdom had prepared the world for this crisis. God has given us special abilities and talents which enable us to work in a creative manner in order to positively impact lives.
“And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.”Exodus 35: 31
Educational institutions have been making use of technology to provide a virtual learning space. This fosters some measure of routine in their daily routine. The online platform, Zoom (among others), has been useful for conducting Prayer Meetings and other spiritual programs which allow communal worship. Various mental health and wellbeing sessions (including exercise classes) have also been held virtually. King Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes 9:10-11, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” We can utilize our digital skills in creative ways to make life more positive during this period of uncertainties and emotional challenges.
While the Devil has often used it for evil, the countless benefits of the internet have not gone unnoticed. Untold blessings have been shared and received during this period. Without it, life would have been mundane, disjointed, seriously stressful and socially terrifying.
God is love. He knows how to reach us, keep us safe and improve our well-being. God tells us in his Word that he does not hold back His blessings. He wants us to trust, listen to and be obedient to Him.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”Jeremiah 17:7-8
Father God, we are so thankful for your many blessings. Help us not only to count the blessings but to count on you, our provider. Through the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.