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Thought for the month: A Word for Tough Times

During the month of October many Churches have “Harvest Thanksgiving Services.” The attendances are often larger, and the praise is often sung with greater gusto. This year the Harvest decorations are more muted, and with social distancing and people wearing masks, the mood is altogether different.

All of this raises for us the question how should Christians react when we meet with tough times?

The prophet Habbakuk gives us some helpful guidance in Habakkuk Ch. 3: 17, 18. “Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.”

What should we do if crops fail, and foodstuffs are scarce? What should we do when something like the Coronavirus pandemic leads to unemployment, or financial hardship, disease, or even the devastating death of a loved one? Well, the prophet says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.” When all our earthly props are gone, God is not gone. This, of course, is a far cry from the suggestion “Come to Christ and you will have health, wealth and prosperity” which I fear may have seeped into our spiritual DNA further than we care to admit.

Such days should also awaken in Christians a spirit of prayer, and of sympathy for others and practical support towards others. It was commendable during the earlier period of Lockdown that many Orange Brethren played their part in practically supporting those in need. There may be some who recklessly spread the virus; let us be careful to do the right thing. Of course, the first and last right thing to do is to trust in Christ as your Saviour. We may not understand why suffering has come, but we can trust the God who suffered for us.

By Wor. Bro. Rev. Alistair Smyth, Grand Chaplain.


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