The forest has spoken. This weekend, this leaf, dressed in gentle shades of autumn, drifted down from the forest canopy in the Island Nature Reserve near Port Elizabeth in South Africa. The leaf’s message was clear: “Autumn is here. Winter for all of us is not far off. But remember. After the winter will come the spring and then the warmth of another summer. Learn from me, a humble leaf. Learn the lesson of the seasons. The winter of this Covid will pass too. Have faith in the passage of time. Rest assured. A new day is coming for us all.”
Perhaps Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, might consider awarding the George Cross to the gallant health and caring services as a whole, for their acts of great heroism and conspicuous courage in serving others during the extreme danger of Covid19.
With respect, the award could be made now. Remember that the award of the George Cross to Malta was made in April 1942, during the Second World War.
If you agree with this idea please pass it on.
John Bartels, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. 31 December 2020
Has 2020 been a year in which your basic assumptions have been challenged? Have your basic assumptions changed about yourself and the planet in which we live? My guess is they have – for you and for millions of people all over the world. Are you disturbed by what has happened in 2020? Should you be?
Dr. Ian McCallum of Port Elizabeth, South Africa has written about these challenges to our assumptions in a very important “must read” article.
Dr. McCallum is a psychiatrist, psychologist, award winning author and poet. He is an adjunct professor at the Nelson Mandela Graduate School of Business in Port Elizabeth. He is also an honorary lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cape Town. In his youth he was a Springbok Rugby player (he represented South Africa).
We live in dangerous times. Covid19 has spread its lethal tentacles all over the world. It has silently crept in the hovels of the poor and into the mansions of the rich, powerful and famous. The virus is not a respecter of persons. Fear abounds. None can escape the touch of its cold hand.
How should a Christian live in “Seasons of Danger”? The advice the Puritan John Flavel (1628-1691) gave to Christians in England long ago, is relevant today. Here is just a snippet of that advice.
Understand that everything is in the hand of God. Get this thought well settled in your heart and it will “guard you against slavish fears.”
Remember that God, in whose hands you are, is your Father. Christ is King and Supreme Lord. You are the apple of His eye. He loves you most tenderly. Understand this and you will quickly say, “Return unto your rest, O my soul.”
You will soon sing “in the midst of danger, “The Lord is King of all the earth, sing praise with understanding.”
I have just finished reading a new book by John Piper – “Coronavirus and Christ”.
The book is clearly written and reads easily.
It is packed with Scripture and source references.
It is full of insights and teachings relevant for us during these worrying pandemic times.
You can find out more about the book here. This is NOT a monetised link.
It is amazing that John Piper got the book written and published in such a short time. I can only assume that he felt called to do this and to get the message in the book out to as many people as possible, as soon as possible.
The book certainly conveys a sense of justified urgency.
I am sure you will find reading the book helpful during the pandemic.
In case you do not know. John Piper is the founder and lead teacher of desiringGod.org of Bethlehem College and Seminary. For 33 years he served as senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of more than 50 books. (From the back of the book)
I honestly believe that reading the two articles below will strengthen the faith of any Christian.
Especially now during the (lets be honest) frightening pandemic.
Remember the saying “it’s where the rubber hits the road”?
The author of the articles, Dr Kathryn Butler, cannot be closer to the “road”. She is a trauma and critical care surgeon turned writer and home schooling mom. Currently she is out of retirement and serving in the ICU of an American Hospital caring for COVID19 patients. She lives north of Boston.
I suggest you read the first article first and then the second article.
The first article is: “If God Doesn’t Heal You” Click
The second article is: “Even in the ICU – Why hope will conquer death” Click
If you find the two articles helpful, please tell others about them.
The Corona virus (COVID-19) clearly falls within this definition.
Surely therefore it is reasonable to interpret the last part of Psalm 91:3 to read follows;-
Surely God will “deliver thee” from the Corona virus (COVID-19).
Is God doing that at the moment ( April 2020)?
Many, many people in the world are infected with the virus and will become infected. Many people have died and will die.
Many of these people will be committed Christians.
This may cause many people to sadly conclude that God is not delivering on His promise of protection against pestilence in Psalm 91:3.
Are they right?
It goes without saying that this is an extremely serious question which calls for prayerful consideration. .
My genuine humble opinion is that it is incorrect to conclude that God is not delivering on His promise of protection against pestilence in Psalm 91:3.
It may be useful to note upfront that verse 3 does not say God is delivering us, it states that God will deliver us. That is why it is not right or logical to use verse 3 to conclude that God is not delivering right now on His promise of protection against pestilence in Psalm 91:3. The word “will” tells us it is a promise about the future. More about this below.
First, Scripture does not teach that the Lord always grants divine blanket protection for all believers in all circumstances (see website at end of post). Two thousand years of martyrs dying painful deaths confirms this. Remember: In the 23rd Psalm God promises to be with us as we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death. God does not promise to lead us round the valley.
Second, and here we come to Psalm 91:3. Lets look at it carefully:
Consider again the word “will
“Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.“
“will” refers to the future. So the verse is saying: Even if you get the virus and no matter what the virus may do to you, your eternal security remains secure. Ultimately God will save you from the “deadly pestilence”. Remember: The Psalms often “look forward to eternity”.
Note that the verse does not say when God will save us from “deadly pestilence”. It could be now, some other time during our lifetime or even beyond.
Remember: In this life God grants us not security from all human ills, but security in (Christ).
Hear what Jesus said about the eternal security He has given to us:
John 6:37-40 KJV
37 “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
This is why Paul wrote in Romans 8:35,37,38 and 39 as follows (COVID-19 added!):
Romans 8:35.37,38 and 39 KJV
“35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, not even Covid-19, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There is no doubt that God will save us from COVID-19. We know not when or where. However we do know that final victory is certain and secure. We have Christ’s own word for it. In His farewell teaching to His apostles He said:
John 16:33 King James Version (KJV)
33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.
May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
Praise the Lord
May the contents of this post, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our strength, and our redeemer.
An article on the UK Apologetics Website helped me with this post. \Some phrases and ideas on the website have been used in this post. I recommend that you go to the website. Click here.
Here is the link to an excellent article about God and the pandemic, written by a Jesuit Priest. It is well written, well reasoned and clear. Above all it is honest. Click here. I came across the article after I had written the above post.
The matrix below is offered to help us think about the relationship between Shut Down Options, the Economy and the Health of the Population. The matrix applies to any country. Even seeing where the matrix is wrong and how it can be improved may help. I hope so.
It goes without saying we need a vaccine desperately and also, if possible, a cure.
Our thoughts are with all those suffering during the pandemic.
In the meantime the question is: What is the best way forward for the economy and the health of the population?
The only option to save the economy and the health of as many people as possible is to have a limited economic shutdown combined with limited social distancing (strictly enforced), supported by a general population committed to self-enforcement.
Warning: Committed self-enforcement by the general population is vital.
A huge thank you to all Health and Essential Workers world wide.