Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ,
At this moment in time it seems that all we are surrounded with is fear, grief, uncertainty and chaos. In response to this pandemic, people are stockpiling hand sanitizer, toilet rolls, food and medication. Some people are preparing for the worst, and everyone is almost certainly beginning to understand the gravity of the situation. Me on the other hand,I’m not stockpiling these things, I’m not preparing for the worst and although I understand the gravity of the situation, I am not overcome by the anxiety that accompanies this horrible virus. Instead, I am stockpiling GOD.
These are difficult times. Exams have been cancelled, we are all locked away in our homes, our in-school learning has been reduced to a tiny screen and personally, having recently joined our school community, I am gutted that I’m unable to interact with you face to face and get to know you all better! However, amongst the confusion and noise, there is still joy to be found.
In the Book of Nehemiah, it says “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord, is your Strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Nehemiah was a cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes I of Persia. At his own request he was sent to Jerusalem to repair its fallen walls that had previously been destroyed by the Babylonians. Once he arrived, he was immediately faced with opposition from three powerful neighbours, the Samaritans, the Ammonites, and the Arabs. They were constantly working against him and did everything they could to ensure the walls weren’t built, but Nehemiah’s perseverance and faith in God paid off and the great walls of Jerusalem were reconstructed.
Now, picture this, Jerusalem is our Global community, the three neighbours represent COVID-19, and who are we? We are Nehemiah. Each one of us are called to be the Nehemiah’s of our communities. We are called to persevere and place all our faith in God so that we can build the walls of His Kingdom here, on Earth. Now, I’m not saying, go and gather bricks and cement and build physical walls, but build your walls by comforting your loved ones, by helping those that are most in need right now. If you’re able, perhaps you could make care packs with essentials in for those elderly that may not have managed to acquire the essentials from their local shops. Perhaps you could write a card to family members in quarantine, or even our NHS staff. Whatever it may be do it with love and kindness in your hearts. For walls can divide, but the walls of God’s Kingdom unite.
Being called to be Nehemiah’s of our communities, isn’t easy, nothing that is good, ever is. But a calling such as this demands that we put aside our anxieties and shine a light so that others may see the goodness of God. And when we’re faced with difficulty and we feel we can no longer go on, remember, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord, is your Strength.”
An invitation then. I want you set aside some time every day, and pray. Now, I understand that a lot of you either don’t pray or pray very little, and this can seem quite daunting, but that’s ok. Talk to God as if He were your mate. Tell Him about your day… what you enjoyed, what you didn’t enjoy so much. Tell Him about your anxieties and worries. Give Him your requests; if you want to pray for someone or something, tell Him. You don’t need to kneel (although you can if you want), but you can just sit down in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, put some relaxing music on, breathe and just sit in His presence. Keep doing that every day, and just watch how the world around you changes. Our ability to pray is one of the greatest gifts God ever gave us, use it!
So, in the coming weeks, stay safe, pray, find your joy and be like Nehemiah!
Love & Prayers,