All of us are making adjustments to our lives in these unprecedented times. Some are adjusting better than others.
Some are dying to go back to their office to work because it’s stressful working from home when they have to attend to restless children vying for their attention ever so often. Others are relieved that they can work from home. Otherwise, travelling to and fro, especially in trains and buses, can expose oneself to unnecessary dangers since the pandemic is not abating.
Still others are taking the circuit breaker in their own stride, even enjoying being holed up in their homes – working, chilling, ordering in their meals or cooking their own, watching Netflix… and they even welcome the extension!
Whether enjoyment or inconvenience or crisis, is God saying something to us individually, as a family, as a church and as a society? (Hint: this is only part 1 of the perspective.) If he is, let us take heed and not brush him aside.
It will really be a pity if our lives register no change when this storm is over. If we come out of it behaving the way we used to, then we would have robbed ourselves of a golden opportunity to be sanctified and transformed by our sovereign Lord who is all powerful and loving, and is working out his good purposes in our lives in and through this darkness.
Individually, are we able to set aside time to spend with the Lord in prayer and in reading his Word? Yes, it is important to attend the Sunday online services, but it is equally important to feed on God’s Word ourselves, to be still before the Lord and hear what he has to say to us on a daily basis.
If before Covid-19, we were too busy or too ill-disciplined to spend time with God, and right now with everyone staying at home, we are still too busy or too ill-disciplined to spend time with God, how does this pattern speak of our relationship with him?
Perhaps if we take the step of faith to carve out time for the Lord, we can find renewed strength and grace for each day we wake up. Jesus, however busy he was, would wake up early in the morning and go away to pray. What may God be saying to you on this matter?
Is God stretching our faith during this time when the economy is not doing well and our jobs are either at stake or uncertain? There are bills to pay, mouths to feed, aging parents to care for, medical expenses to incur. There are those who are fighting another battle – their own health problems, or physical and mental issues (which could possibly be aggravated by Covid-19).
Where and how do we find solace? We may be very used to solving our own problems and relying on our own resources to find our way out. In the past we were always successful in coming out of the maze unscathed. What may God be saying to us now? Are we seeking God’s direction and guidance even more earnestly? Do we recognise that there are things really beyond our control? Do we pray for wisdom as to what we should be doing next? Shouldn’t such times drive us to our knees in humility and dependence on God?
If you have been a very private person and you are not comfortable sharing with others your struggles, perhaps this is a good time to step out of your comfort zone and come forward to ask for help and counsel. I want to assure you that the leaders and pastors are here for you. Share with us, what is God saying to you?
I read in the newspaper that domestic abuse and home violence are on the rise because families are cooped up in a confined space for far too long. A celebrity couple had asked for separation because the husband was not used to spending so much time at home as he would usually be traveling around the country to perform his gigs.
I wonder how our families are doing right now. Are mommies and daddies helping each other in terms of attending to their children and household chores? Are there more tensions between husbands and wives, between parents and children and between siblings? If relationships were already not good before Covid-19, during this time, would they be made even more unbearable or would family members take this opportunity to reconcile and make peace?
Would more amiable communication help to diffuse misunderstandings? What about putting on patience, meekness, humility, kindness and compassionate hearts? Do these qualities sound familiar? Well if we have been memorising the verses from Colossians 3, bells should ring. What would our homes look like if they were infused with such qualities? Would you want to see your family becoming more tightly knit as a result of Covid-19? What may God be saying to you on this matter?
The church has been planning for family service (or what we call communion service) since two years ago. We are convicted that families must come together for worship. We didn’t want to implement the monthly family service last year because we said that we needed to educate and prepare the congregation, especially the families, for this change. We conducted training for parents with children in U12 on how they can engage their children during corporate worship. We even gave every family a book entitled “Parenting in the Pew”. I also exhorted the congregation to embrace the children in our midst and be patient even if the noise level went up.
This year, we finally started the family service. And then Covid-19 came and instead of having family service once a month, it’s family service every Sunday (assuming that parents are gathering their children together for worship). Instead of designing a worksheet once a month, Ps Suet Fong now sends out a worksheet every Saturday night so that parents can engage their children during sermon time.
Parents, if before Covid-19, worshipping with your children by your side is something you are not comfortable with, I hope that the on-going training at home during this period will put you in very good stead when we resume our physical gathering in church. And now that you are spending more time at home, I also pray that you will carve out time for family devotion. Start with once a week, perhaps midweek, where fathers, as heads of the household, lead the family in a time of singing, reading God’s Word and prayer. Again what may God be saying to you on this matter?
As I conclude, can I reiterate what I said at the start? It will really be a pity if our lives register no change when this storm is over. If we come out of it behaving the way we used to, then we would have robbed ourselves of a golden opportunity to be sanctified and transformed by our sovereign Lord who is all powerful and loving and is working out his good purposes in our lives in and through this darkness.
Rev Lee Kien Seng
May 10, 2020