Article of the week: Trust in God
13 March 2021
Elaine Humphries reflects on what we can learn from Bible characters who experienced their own lockdowns
THE impact of the latest coronavirus lockdown and the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines means that restrictions should be gradually lifted in the near future. In the meantime, we remain in lockdown.
Many Bible characters experienced a form of lockdown as they were confined in a small space for one reason or another. What can we learn from their experiences?
When Jesus was here on Earth he healed a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years (see Luke 8:43–48). Considered unclean, she would have been an outcast in society. She would have felt as though she were locked in her own home and been fearful of going out. But one day she plucked up the courage to go out and see Jesus – and her life was changed. Ten lepers were also healed by Jesus (see Luke 17:11–19). People with leprosy would also have been considered unclean, so their lives would have changed drastically too.
Noah was called by God to build an ark. This must have seemed crazy, but he was obedient and built it according to God’s instructions (see Genesis 6:14–22). He lived in the ark for more than a year, but there is no indication that he got impatient with God or couldn’t wait to leave. When he sent a dove out of the ark it couldn’t find anywhere to perch, so he waited seven more days before he sent it out again. This time it returned with a freshly plucked olive leaf. Many of us would have been tempted to leave at that point, but Noah waited seven more days. When he eventually came out of the ark, he ‘built an altar to the Lord’ and ‘sacrificed burnt offerings on it’ (Genesis 8:20).
A number of Bible characters were imprisoned. Joseph, for example, was sold into slavery, then falsely accused and thrown into prison. He was eventually released and put in charge of Egypt during seven years of famine. When his brothers asked him to forgive them for how they
had treated him, he said: ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’ (Genesis 50:20).
Paul and Silas praised God while behind bars: ‘About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God’ (Acts 16:25). After an earthquake, the jailer found the Lord, along with the rest of his family.
All these examples show that God was with people and at work in their lockdown. It also reveals their trust in him.
Jesus knows how we feel during this time. In his humanity, he felt the same emotions we do. When John the Baptist was put in jail and later killed, Jesus felt the pain (see Matthew 14:3–13). When his friend Lazarus died, we are told that ‘Jesus wept’ (John 11:35). The Lord knows the pain that many of us have gone through in this pandemic, and he is with us now. He fulfils God’s promise to ‘never leave you nor forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:6).
It is easy to complain at this time, but ‘your conversation should be so sensible and logical that anyone who wants to argue will be ashamed of himself because there won’t be anything to criticise in anything you say!’ (Titus 2:8 Living Bible).
Psalm 46:10 says: ‘Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted in the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth.’ God’s name is being exalted. We know that during this pandemic more people are listening to church services than would normally attend church. There has been a significant increase in the number of people seeking salvation and accepting Jesus as Saviour. The Evangelical Alliance says 59 per cent of church leaders have seen an increase in people interested in finding out about Jesus and the Christian faith, and more than one in ten have seen an increase in people making a first-time commitment to Christ.
God is at work. Our job is to trust that he is with us and is working through us – because he is in control.
God is still on the throne
And he will remember his own;
Though trials may press us and burdens distress us,
He never will leave us alone.
God is still on the throne,
And he will remember his own;
His promise is true, he will not
God is still on the throne.
ELAINE SOLDIERS AT CARDIFF CANTON