The mornings are getting brighter, we’re heading into spring, but the days we’re in actually feel dark and unnerving. The spread of coronavirus has got many of us worried and is confronting us with lots of sad and hard things.
The fear that comes through the virus spreading, getting the virus ourselves, or those we love becoming ill.
The difficulty as we contemplate the unknown – how long will this situation last, all the economic and social ramifications the outbreak will have.
The sadness that comes as friends and families are separated, or as we think of the elderly and most vulnerable in society who are struggling to cope and get the provisions and care they need.
The stress and pressure many workers in the NHS, emergency services, shops, logistics industry, schools and many more are facing.
The possibility of businesses going bust and families struggling to make ends meet.
And whilst this time is bringing out many good things – friends and neighbours caring for each other, communities joining together to support those in need, the sacrificial service of those working to ensure we have the healthcare and provisions needed across the country, we can’t escape the sadness and concern these days are bringing. These are dark days.
But there are 2 big things it gives us an opportunity to recognise. – One that we should already have seen through life in this world, and one that God, gloriously, makes known to us through the pages of the Bible:
Here’s the first thing: The coronavirus outbreak opens our eyes to the sad and painful things of life in this world, that have always been present, but we try our hardest to ignore and shut out.
Here’s the reality: Sad and painful things were happening in the UK before we’d even heard the word ‘coronavirus’. People were still getting ill, loved ones were still dying, families were still facing hardship, pain and loss.
Illness and death aren’t anything new in our world. The difference now is that it’s much harder to ignore… Much harder to not think about or see happening around us.
It shows us that, whilst there are many good things to enjoy and celebrate in our world, there are also many things that aren’t good. Many things that threaten our lives, health and happiness. Many things that we’d like to be rid of but can’t control and can’t stop from causing havoc in our lives.
It shows us that the world is not as it’s meant to be. – That there’s something disordered, and chaotic about the world we live in. The spread of the Coronavirus is a case in point. Despite the countless efforts of worldwide governments, scientists and medics, us humans haven’t been able to stop the spread of this destructive force.
That’s the first thing the coronavirus outbreak wakes us up to: Sad and painful things happen in this world. This is the reality of the world we live in, it’s just harder to ignore in days like this.
But, the second thing coronavirus gives us an opportunity to recognise is that there is hope through Jesus: Here’s what God tells us in the Bible about the coming of Jesus to the world. We read:
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
Jesus comes to the world as a light. In fact, as we read about Jesus later in the Bible, he himself declares ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life’.
You see, the whole reason God sent Jesus to the world was to bring light in our darkness. Jesus is the one who breaks and defeats the darkness that brings such pain and sorrow to the world. – The darkness that destroys and brings death.
And he does it in the most remarkable and costly way. You see, the darkest moment of the Bible – the time we see the fullest force of evil – has Jesus right at the centre of it, hanging on a cross.
On the cross, Jesus took on all the dark and evil forces of the world. – Took on the way each of us has contributed to the dark mess and pain of the world by turning away from God ourselves.
And as Jesus died, darkness literally overwhelmed the scene – a sign in the sky that showed what was happening on the cross. A sign that showed that this child, who was born to bring light, did so by dying in darkness, to do away with all the darkness of evil there’s ever been, or ever will be.
And as we carry on reading through the accounts of Jesus in the Bible, we find that his death wasn’t the end. Although Jesus died in darkness, we find that 3 days later he rose from death to life on a glorious new morning.
Darkness couldn’t defeat the light! Jesus has won! He’s defeated death and secured an end to all the sadness and pain we know from life in thus world.
And that’s why, in these dark and sad days, there is still reason for hope. – Hope that only truly comes through Jesus, the one who came as a light. The one who declared: I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’
Sad, distressing things have always been happening in our world. But, this is a reality that isn’t without hope. – Hope comes through Jesus, the light of the world, who has triumphed over darkness.
We would love to share this good news of death defeated and the hope of life and light in Jesus with you. We would love to help you to see how Jesus brings the hope and comfort we all need at this time. If you would like to find out more about these things, please do get in touch with us.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be running a course called ‘Uncover’, which helps us to uncover the truth about Jesus from the Bible and the news of hope and comfort he brings. The course will be delivered by the leaders of Grace Church, over the internet using Zoom – a web service that allows virtual meetings and enables all participants to input. Please let us know if you’d like to join in and we can arrange suitable times for this to happen.