Scripture Reading - James 4v1-7
When we first heard in January about a virus beginning to spread in China, little did we realise the effect it would subsequently have on our lives! Most of 2020 has been lived with our finger on the pause button, with all our plans for Spring, Summer and probably the rest of this year thrown into chaos and, mostly, cancellation. We even had to celebrate the Twelfth at home! The normal, the abnormal, the extraordinary have existed side-by-side as life was lived, but not as we knew it. But one thing is certain, whether it was through what we lost of 2020, through what the remainder of this year will bring and forever, through every facet of life, God watches over us.
Many have turned to the Lord in prayer as we faced the uncertainty of Coronavirus and the relationship that many have with God has changed over the time of lockdown. When we desperately needed the Lord to be with us, He was - beside and around us and our family with His protection. There is still a great need for us to remain close to God post-lockdown, the concept which a lot appear to have of God as a crutch, a bandage or a plaster which is discarded when things improve ought not to be in our thinking. Our need of the Lord is unrelenting, whether we are laughing, crying, isolated, together, social distancing, it is God who holds our past, present and future in His hands.
In the matter of our sinfulness, we need Jesus. He stands between us and our sin and, in Christ and by the Cross, God has acted to protect us from harm and the consequences of our wrongdoing. James 4 is a reminder that if we are against God, we have a problem. But if God is with us and, in Jesus, we with Him, then we will be blessed. A post-lockdown relationship with Christ will bring meaningful benefit to our life and secure the eternal well-being of our soul. As our lives begin to adjust to a new normal, the key to life is found in verse 7 “Therefore submit to God”.
The need we had for God through lockdown ought to continue in our lives as we put our heads above the parapet again. But even more crucial, our need of Christ to have the sinfulness of our lives dealt with is paramount. Our future today is no less certain to us than it was in the middle of March, or at any time, but the Lord knows. As we come to Christ in faith, realising the helplessness of our sinful selves, understanding that He alone is the way of salvation, by submitting ourselves to Him, we are assured not only of forgiveness but the strength which we need to face the future. The questions we still have will be answered, the protection we have known will be continued, and our eternal future will be determined through faith alone in Christ alone. The challenge for the days ahead is this “Submit yourselves, then, to God”
‘In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song’
Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
By Wor. Bro. Rev. John Noble, Grand Chaplain