As we enter into another week of lockdown, wondering just how much more of this is there to go; as politicians continue to press for answers and governments are left looking into an unknown future; as the essential workers, lead by the NHS staff and care home staff continue to face the realities of this unseen killer, it is easy for fear to enter our hearts.
This fear is real and based on the uncertainty of the question ‘Will I be next?’ We see people respond in all kinds of ways: pretending it is something devised by some unseen dark malevolent syndicate; that it only affects the old and ill; that social distancing applies to others and not me, (in effect denial).
What ever the excuse the fear is that based on the greatest fear of humanity, the fear of death and dying. It sends us into a tail spin of emotions which results in behaviours that, on reflection, we may regret.
Yet there has also been a response that is common in times of social upheaval. HopeTogether.org has reported a large increase in web traffic from young people seeking How to Pray and the Diocese of Lichfield is using Talking Jesus materials to help parishes talk about Jesus. People who have never darkened the door of a church are now seeking help beyond science and hearsay.
Christians will not be surprised. After all we have cried out to him on previous occasions when fear seemed to overwhelm us. Like the Psalmist (and the pilgrims going up to the Temple in Jerusalem) we lift our eyes to the hills and ask ‘Where does my help come from?’ The answer that is found is ‘My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.’ (Psalm 121:1,2)
HopeTogether have reported that many asking about prayer on line have also found the comfort of help from the Lord. That God is willing and waiting for us to turn to him. Like the father in Jesus’ parable of the two sons (Luke 15), God waits and longs for us and the minute we walk towards him he rushes to sweep us up in his arms.
Yet still fear and death abound. This is still the big question for humanity. After all we have eternity in our hearts.
Easter is the place to look. To a room in lockdown; to a group of frightened, lost men and women who did not understand. Confused, questioning if they were mad. Where is God?
In their darkest hour, he stood amongst them.
God has dealt with death. He opens his arms and says to us all ‘Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11.28
Peter had already known that peace Matthew 14 :22-32, yet he too was afraid.
When he stopped looking at Jesus and looked instead at the waves, he sank.
When the fears arise and we listen to our hearts pounding and we feel scared lost and bewildered, let us turn our eyes upon Jesus, look full into his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.