Cast your mind back to the beginning of 2020. A new year lay ahead. Many of us made New Year’s resolutions and talked about changes we would like to see happen this year. Others set goals and made plans for the year ahead. We had dreams, hopes and expectations of what 2020 would bring.
Fast forward less than three months and for many people that seems like a distant memory. Those who hoped to get married, change job, move house or travel find that their options are limited or have disappeared completely. For many, something as simple as a trip to the local shop today will cause anxiety, whether for health reasons, financial reasons or simply as you’re not sure what will be left. Life has changed drastically in such a short time and we have been told that ‘this is the calm before the storm’.
As Christians we can feel the need to put on a brave face or have all the answers in the midst of crises. Personally, I believe that it is ok to acknowledge that this is a scary and confusing time. It is ok to be concerned for the safety of a loved one. It is ok to be disappointed that the wedding, the party or the event that you were looking forward to for months has been cancelled. It is ok to be sad that your job has changed or even ended. Acknowledging these emotions is important and healthy, but if we continually dwell on them we can lose sight of the bigger picture.
Instead of looking around at the ever-changing circumstances we find ourselves in, we can choose to look up and focus on the One who hasn’t changed. Even though we are in the midst of a pandemic, God is still sovereign. Although our current roles/jobs may look different, God’s overall purpose for us has not changed. Though we live in a world full of fake news and contradictory advice, God’s word and His promises are still true.
Despite the fact that those around us may be filled with fear and anxiety, God can still fill us with His peace.
As I have been praying over the past couple of weeks the phrase ‘for such a time of this’ from the story of Esther has repeatedly come to my mind. The book of Esther tells the story of a young Jewish girl who becomes queen of the Persian Empire. Using her role as queen, Esther has the opportunity to intercede on behalf of the Jews and prevents a genocide of her people. In Esther 4v14 it suggests that perhaps she was appointed to this royal position for this specific time, ‘for such a time as this’. As I consider this phrase, both in the context of this story and all that is happening today, I have been challenged to consider whether God has us in our specific contexts for such a time as this.
What if we live in the neighbourhood we are in for such a time as this?
What if we are in our specific jobs for such a time as this?
What if we are in our specific friendship circles for such a time as this?
What if we have the luxury of time or money for such a time as this?
What if we have specific skills or talents for such a time as this?
This time will pass and life will return to normal again. Before we know it our social calendars will be full, self-isolating will go back to being a luxury chosen by introverts and Corona will simply refer to a beer! But until then, I challenge us to ask ourselves what talents, skills, resources and opportunities has God given each one of us for such a time as this?