Scripture: John 16; Romans 8
Preacher: Gerhard Venter
Summary: Who is the Holy Spirit, how does He work, and how do I know that I live in his power? We look at some answers.
Nobody could have predicted 18 months ago that we would be where are today. That’s just the nature of human knowledge – we cannot see into the future. My generation has had it relatively easy – no major world war, no world-wide pandemic, growing wealth, fairly comfortable lives. To some degree we’ve heard or experienced the odd localized case of illness, war, terrorism, and economic issues that threatened to impact our world, but none great enough to make us stop and reconsider our way of life. I guess we just took our privileges for granted.
It is therefore no wonder that COVID-19 has hit us hard, stopping all of us in our tracks. It often felt during this past year as if the world, our world, is spinning out of control. And just as we started thinking numbers are decreasing, with some countries seemingly getting on top of this thing, the miraculous quick development and availability of vaccines, we are all shocked to watch in horror how this virus and its impact is spinning out of control in India. It is a stark reminder that this thing is not over yet. As the expression goes: It ain’t over ’till it’s over.
As we continue to look for answers, pray for protection and ask question about why this is happening, it is hard to come up with answers for those who are really suffering. Being in lock-down in our relatively safe environment is no match for what others in the world of illness, death, suffering, hunger and yearning for peace and safety are experiencing.
Some Bible authors also ask hard questions. People like Job who suffered so much loss without knowing why it hit him “out of nowhere”. Some of the Psalmists also questioned God’s care, wondering about his apparent absence when they needed Him (“Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” – Ps 10:1). But almost in every single case we also see these people turning TO God, rather than turning away from Him, as seen in the same psalm (10:16): “The LORD is king forever and ever”. This confession is based on the fact that they knew God is in control, even if and when it seems to be different in the short-term.
I am praying that, one day in the future, we’ll look back at how God used this history-making pandemic and its impact around the world to confirm what we already know and confess: Our God is in control!
Yours in the Lord’s service
Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”