As familiar patterns of life and mission work have been profoundly altered by the coronavirus crisis, SIM International Director Joshua Bogunjoo urges Christians to show the love of Jesus to others during this global pandemic and to continue being 'people of prayer'.
I know many of you are sheltered in your homes. Others are cut off from loved ones in distance countries. Plans for holiday and travels have had to change. Many of you have family and friends who have lost their jobs and incomes because of the virus. The Lord is not unaware of all these realities.
At a time like this, it can be tempting to wonder if the Lord is hearing and answering our prayers. But I know the Lord hears our prayers. Sometimes it can feel like walking between two high walls of water, fearing they might collapse at any minute, like the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. But the plans of the Lord were unfolding in that very moment, in answer to their cry for deliverance.
Remember the passage in Joshua 1:6: “Be strong and courageous, for you will give the people this land as an inheritance that I swore to their ancestors to give them.” This was a time of significant uncertainty among the people of God.
Their leader of 40 years, Moses, was now dead, and the rod of Moses was no longer available. The people of God were now asked to cross a flooding Jordan River into a hostile environment.
God was not rushing them through a flooded Jordan because heaven had run out of manna for them to eat in the wilderness. No, God was working in accordance with his own purpose, plan and timing “for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest” (Joshua 3:15).
God wanted his people to simply trust him, even without the rod of Moses, which was instrumental in crossing the Red Sea. He wanted them to step, by faith, right into the rushing waters.
Perhaps we feel like we are facing a raging river with neither Moses, nor the rod of God; or like the Israelites facing a wall of water, with the Egyptian army breathing murder behind. It might seem like everything has come to a halt, that we are all unable to move or do anything meaningful. However, our greatest work is still ours every day — the work of prayer.
Prayer knows no boundary, no quarantine, no confinement. Prayer knows no travel ban or city blockade. Prayer is still the work. Like the Israelites, we may discover at the end of this time that the Lord has been at work all along, winning battles we were never even aware of.
We have prayed for governments leading countries through the crisis and we saw an increase in their response and in the urgency with which they are now dealing with COVID-19 pandemic. The key is to keep our eyes on the Lord, not just the statics and the media.
We may not know everything, but one thing we know is that our God is still on his throne. He says through the psalmist, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” Here is the psalmist’s response, “The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our high stronghold (or refuge)” (Psalm 46: 10,11). He still is!
Let’s keep up our courage. Let us be strong in the face of uncertain future, in the face of a disease we do not understand. Let us serve our neighbours and those in need around us, expressing the love of Jesus to them in a time of need. This is what Christians through the ages have done in the face of fear and disease. As we have done for more than 125 years, so we will do today: pray. He will yet be exalted — even amidst a global pandemic. May the peoples praise him.
SIM Inernational Director
For specific prayer points from SIM International, please click here.