God is our refuge and strength an ever present help in trouble. ~Psalm 46:1
British Columbia is about to reopen!
It is a new beginning to us, who have experienced lockdowns and reopening during the pandemic. We don’t know if it will be better or if the mutation will come back. But for most people who are vaccinated, it should be a great blessing. For those who have not received their shots, it may be another challenge. Because wearing a mask is no longer mandatory in Stage 3, asymptomatic infected people might become a potential danger. Furthermore, this kind of anxiety and uncertainty will become a burden in our hearts, affecting our mood and changing our habits. It will affect you, vaccinated or not. And the fear is invisible.
Looking back on the past year, we saw the pandemic turned China and Europe upside down in the beginning. It felt like watching a movie and that North America would not be affected. However, the virus spread beyond our expectations and imaginations, and as a result, our life changed overnight. Restaurants were shut down, workplaces and schools were closed, accompanied by business suspension and unemployment. Households had to stay indoors and were not able to visit or have dinner with family and friends. Social activities stopped, isolations and quarantines started. Hospital staff and other front-line health workers were working overtime and nonstop. It was heart-wrenching to see marks on their faces from wearing masks and also how exhausted they were from work. Those memories are like the essence expressed in the art piece “Return to Bucolic Life” in July’s calendar. Households were separated, and people kept the social distance of at least two meters when out in public. Partitions were used for isolation even when we could dine in the restaurant. People who had a yard or garden returned to the pastoral life and stayed at home unless it was necessary to go out. Staying at home was being responsible on our part in this pandemic. “What you can see is not a threat; what can’t be seen is the real danger.” The invisible virus brings out the most profound fear and makes us live in worry.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” This is a song of Zion, praising God through praising Jerusalem. During the reign of King Hezekiah, in order to avoid the invasion of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, the people of Judah survived the crisis by God’s grace. This personal experience of God’s grace made the whole poem full of strength in simplicity and also illustrated the most trusting relationship between men in suffering and God. Such poems have been sung among the saints throughout the ages, remembering God’s touch of salvation when we encountered peril. God is invisible. He will not be blocked by architectural space, nor will God be restricted by geographic boundaries, nor can time limit God’s love. In the Old Testament, he was called a refuge to save us from the enemy’s grasp. In the New Testament, even tribulation, hardship, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger and swords cannot separate us from the love of Christ. From the ancient to the present, His power is still manifesting, and He still opens the way during the pandemic. Whether confirmed positive or not, vaccinated or not, wearing a mask or not, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
“Refuge” does not mean that we can only hide, but that we have a safe place to belong. Only when we have a safe place can we generate the strength to walk the way we should go. We not only can take the stable and familiar road but can also take, with a sense of security, the road that we have never walked, the road of adventure or the road we have never imagined. Because on the road of life, even if we encounter obstacles or accidents, God can be our help in adversity at any time. Friends, go forth, learn to take risks, don’t be afraid, just do it, walk with God, be fearless!