From the 5th March, when the first suspected case of COVID-19 was reported until now, there are 3,953 total confirmed cases in South Africa with 75 deaths. Around the world, there are currently 2 649 680 cases with 184 643 deaths. The world has never been the same, since the virus was reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and is certainly going to take a long time to recover. The point is we are living in very anxious times and the question facing all of us is how do we keep trusting God and enduring in these very difficult and challenging times?
I would like us to look at one of the most-loved and well-known Psalms, Psalm 23 and share with you one important truth to encourage us in these unsettling times. David writes, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
David begins this Psalm by saying the LORD is my shepherd. Knowing that our LORD is our shepherd should come as an enormous encouragement to the people of God, especially during these times of uncertainty. Just like any shepherd loves & is committed to his sheep, so God loves us as his children and is committed to us. He showed his love and commitment by coming to earth in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ who himself said, “I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). No matter what may come our way in the next few weeks or months’, especially during this time of uncertainty because of the Coronavirus, we can thank God with grateful hearts that He loves and cares for us. Our lives are in the hands of our loving and caring Shepherd where nothing, no sickness, no pain, no virus and not even death itself can separate us from his love (cf. Romans 8:39).
As we enter into Day 29 of the national lockdown, most of us if not all of us are feeling anxious for many different reasons. These reasons will vary from not knowing whether we will receive our month-end salary or for some not knowing whether they still will have a job or not, while for others how their retirement annuities or pension funds would or will have been affected because of the global economic crisis.
Friends, I would like to encourage you from Psalm 23:1 knowing that even though all of us are facing all kinds of different anxieties, let us use our time wisely by praying and spending time with God in His Word that He will refresh our souls. And, we do so that He will lead and guide us into the future. We can do so for as our loving Shepherd, He loves us and is committed to us and wants us to cast all our anxieties and burdens upon Him because He cares for us (Psalm 55:22; I Peter 5:7).
In closing, in the words of Joseph Scriven who wrote the hymn, “What friend we have in Jesus”, “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.”