The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed our lives. This is after the drought, bushfires and floods. All these would have taken significant tolls on our lives. The pandemic threatens our lives and livelihood. The restrictions placed on our lives are devastating. We are created in the image of God and created for relationships.
Social isolation and loneliness are harmful to our physical and mental health. We must be alert to the effects of isolation on ourselves, our families and friends. Remind ourselves that we are not going through this crisis by ourselves. God is with us. His Word gives us lots of assurances of his presence with us (Psalm 23; Isa. 40:28ff; Jer. 33:3f; John 10:10ff; Rom. 8:38f; Phil. 2:5ff).
Gospel Teams are great to make sure that we are not completely isolated. Technology allows us to catch up virtually – a phone call or a video call. Heb. 10:24 encourages all of us to “watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted our routines tremendously. We need to develop some form of routines in our lives. For example, if you’re working at home, wake up at your usual time instead of sleeping in. Use the time that you would be catching the train or driving to work to simply walk around the block for physical exercise. Get a walking buddy to walk together and to motivate each other. Remember to observe social distancing!
Don’t be just cooped up in the house or your room – go for a walk; get some fresh air. Don’t just binge-watch Netflix – read the Bible, read Christian books. If you don’t know what to read, ring the church office and staff can recommend books for you. A few suggestions:
- A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller
- Side by Side – Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love by Edward T. Welch
- God’s Big Picture – a Bible Overview by Vaughan Roberts
No one call tell us how long this crisis will last. The uncertainties can cause fear and anxieties. Paul, in Phil. 4:6, exhorts us to trust God and instead of being anxious and worrying, he tells us to pray and to orientate our minds to God. God’s peace, which surpasses all understanding will guard our minds and hearts in Christ Jesus. Even if we don’t know how to pray, Rom. 8:26ff gives us comfort and confidence that the Holy Spirit himself will intercede for us and he understands our groaning, pains, fears and anxieties. How great is our Sovereign God!!
Trust God and seek refuge and comfort under his wings (Isa. 40: 28-31). The poem, ‘Footprints in the Sand’, reminds us of God’s presence with us, especially when we feel we’re struggling with life by ourselves. Psalm 127 is a great psalm of assurance of God’s presence. It encourages us not to look down and see only our helplessness but to lift our eyes and see the glory of God around us. He is a shelter right by our side.
If you’re struggling with mental health, visit http://www.mentalhealthinstitute.org.au/. Talk to someone – a friend or call the church office to talk to a minister. We are in this together and by God’s grace, we’ll get through together.
Author: Peter Chin
P.S. Here is a helpful resource about ‘Coping with Isolation’ from our friends at Bluebird Psychology’
Prayer of the Day
Our Great God,
We pray for our leaders, for our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. We give you thanks that he is your faithful servant and has been redeemed by your grace. We pray for wisdom and strength as he leads the nation. We pray for his cabinet, the State premiers and all who have responsibilities to guide our nation through this crisis.
Close to home, we give you thanks for Adrian’s leadership. Guide him as he leads his ministry team. We also pray for our Congregation leadership teams and Gospel Team leaders. Strengthen them and grant them rest. May you enrich them with your wisdom as they lead us.
We pray for each other in Northmead Anglican, that we may care for each other. Help us to be bold to share your gospel of life in Jesus to our families and our neighbours.