The year 2020 was a year when humanity faced one of its greatest crises – the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, the virus has killed 1.75 million and infected 80 million worldwide. Caught by complete surprise, national leaders are now grappling to control the outbreak by imposing lockdowns, curfews, curbs and border controls. Health care systems all over the world are stretched to their limits as infections spike beyond control. The pandemic has toppled global economies, and triggered business and job losses in unprecedented ways.
For us in Singapore, “circuit breaker” measures like social distancing and restrictions on gatherings were introduced. Visits to anyone outside our own household or simply eating out at a food centre were prohibited under the law. On 15 April, it became mandatory to wear a mask when leaving the house.
We thank God for these containment measures implemented by our government to curb the virus spread. Indeed, we are blessed to be living in Singapore where health care facilities are excellent. Though our country has recorded more than 58,000 infections, we have one of the lowest death tolls in the world – less than 30 have died of the virus.
We have just entered the new year of 2021. With the pandemic fresh on everyone’s minds, we all have our concerns. Will there be more pandemic woes? Will the new vaccine work, and for how long? What about the new virus strain which is seemingly more contagious? Will there be more curbs? Will our nation’s economy improve? How will all our lives be affected? These are questions that none can really answer.
Brethren, we know not what the new year will bring. But we can be sure of one thing –that we can trust our sovereign Lord in these turbulent times. God has allowed this tiny virus to invade the world and bring it to its knees. Surely He will guide and help us as we face an uncertain future.
Most importantly, let us resolve to put the Lord first in the year 2021. God’s Word exhorts us: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6: 33). In the context of this familiar passage, Jesus was warning His disciples against disquieting, distrustful care. He gave examples from the plant and animal kingdom. The lilies of the field “toil not, neither do they spin” (v 28). Yet King Solomon in all his splendour could not compare with their glorious beauty (v 29).
“There is a saying among the rabbi almost similar to this – ‘Hast thou ever seen a beast or a fowl that had a workshop? yet they are fed without labour and without anxiety. They were created for the service of man, and man was created that he might serve his Creator. Man also would have been supported without labour and anxiety, had he not corrupted his ways. Hast thou ever seen a lion carrying burdens, a stag gathering summer fruits, a fox selling merchandise, or a wolf selling oil, that they might thus gain their support? And yet they are fed without care or labour’” (Adam Clarke).
When God’s children set their affections on things above (Col 3: 1-2), their Heavenly Father promises to see to their basic needs for food, drink and raiment. In verse 34, we are exhorted to “take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Each new day will bring with it, its own trials. While we expect them, let us not torment ourselves today with fears of what tomorrow will bring. Rather, let us cast our burdens upon the Lord Who cares for us (I Pet 5: 7).
I have nothing to do with tomorrow,
My Saviour will make that His care,
Should He fill it with trouble and sorrow,
He’ll help me to suffer and bear.
I have nothing to do with tomorrow,
Its burdens then why should I share?
Its grace and its faith I can’t borrow
Then why should I borrow its care?
(Knight’s Treasury of Illustrations)
Wishing all a blessed and meaningful New Year!