To many of us, the year 2020 started like any other. But it is a year that none of us will ever forget. Unknown to the world, a deadly disease with unexplained pneumonia symptoms – later known as COVID-19 – had started spreading in Wuhan, China in early December 2019. Within days, it spread like wildfire around the globe, provoking a pandemic that turned the world upside down.
Caught off-guard, national leaders rushed to respond to the rapidly-evolving situation that seemed to worsen by the day. The pandemic has toppled global economies and brought the world to a standstill with containment measures like lockdowns, curfews, quarantines and border controls. In Singapore, it is mandatory to wear a mask, practise social distancing and minimise contact with others.
Today, many countries are still grappling with the unabated spread of the virus. New waves of infections continue to surface, prompting governments to impose drastic curbs and restrictions. The virus seems unconquerable. Just a few days ago, a new, more infectious variant of the coronavirus has been identified in the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.
The world today may be in a state of chaos and uncertainty. But we thank God for His providential care and blessings during this pandemic. He has graciously preserved us from the dreaded disease. Our government has responded quickly and efficiently to contain the virus. Now that the situation is fairly stable, more restrictions have been eased. We are grateful to the Lord for His mercies even upon our land and people during this unprecedented crisis.
In response to the government’s directives during the “circuit breaker” period, our church met online through Zoom (YAF/Adult Bible Class/Sunday School) and pre-recordings for both worship services and prayer meetings. With the easing of more measures, we returned to church for physical worship on 4 October. We praise God for guiding us as we waited upon Him. May we continue to trust our sovereign God “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph 1: 11).
Brethren, let us be prayerful in these perilous end-times (Philp 4: 6-7). Uphold our leaders as they look for ways to revive the economy, provide jobs and lift restrictions. Pray for God’s merciful intervention to stem the virus spread. Pray that this crisis may be the impetus for many to see the Lord’s hand and turn to Him.
This pandemic also reminds us that the Lord’s coming draweth nigh. Let us be vigilant – and “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5: 15-16). Have a blessed New Year 2021!