Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Title: Under His wings
By: Dorothy Teoh

Recently, a friend who was having a minor sore throat from eating too much fried and spicy food commented that we would not have noticed things like these prior to Covid-19, but suddenly, they have become an issue. I know how that feels. Last month, a friend and I arranged to meet up for lunch with some other friends; an event that I had been looking forward to after months of little social interaction.

I was feeling particularly warm that morning. Normally, I would just have put it down to the hot weather. But a few days before that, I had gone for a meeting with someone who was not wearing a mask in the car and who had coughed several times during the ride.

I could not find my digital thermometer so before my friend picked me up, I walked out to the guardhouse at my condo and asked the guard to take my temperature, not once but twice. Both times were normal. But maybe I was asymptomatic! My friend came along and I got into the car, still worried. After travelling less than a kilometre, I called our other friend, cancelled the lunch appointment and asked the friend who was driving to send me home.

Once home, I went to bed – in the middle of the day – and was sure that I would awaken with a sore throat, a symptom of Covid-19. That didn’t happen, but the experience led me to turn to Psalm 91.

With its references to “deadly pestilence” and “plague”, Psalm 91 could have been written for the times we live in. I want to focus on just the first four verses.

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

The Psalm is not a magic incantation that gives us immunity against illness or adversity. But it reassured me and freed me from irrational fear because it speaks of God’s protection over those He loves, and those who love and trust Him. Verses 1 and 2 speak of a God who is not just pre-eminent, majestic and all-powerful, but one who is personal and who cares for us. They also speak of God’s sovereignty over our lives and that nothing can touch us without His say-so.

It may not be the fear of Covid-19 but another situation that threatens to overwhelm us. Are we dwelling in our own fears or self-doubt or in the shelter of the Most High? I think of a child walking beside his or her parent and trying to match his/her own small steps to the parent’s strides to keep in the parent’s shadow. The child is secure because he/she is holding onto the parent and is shielded from the scorching sun. In fact, the imagery in verse 4 is of the warm and intimate protectiveness of a faithful mother bird.

This is the God in whom the Psalmist trusts, the same God who is our refuge and our fortress even as the pandemic continues to rage around us and uncertainties and fears abound.

Prayer

Abba Father, thank you for loving us and protecting us on a daily basis, not just from Covid-19 but from all harm. But we also know that bad things do happen even to those who love you. When they do, help us to be able to say as the Psalmist does, “You are my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust”. Help us to hold fast to you, in good times and bad, in joy and in sorrow. in sickness and in health. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

2020年9月29日星期二
标题:在祂的翅膀底下
作者:Dorothy Teoh
翻译:陈晓佩姐妹

最近,有一位朋友因为吃了太多煎炸和辛辣的食物而出现轻微的喉咙痛,她说在发生新冠状病毒肺炎之前我们不会多加留意,可现在突然成了一个问题。我知道那种的感受。上个月,我和一位朋友安排了和另一些朋友相约吃午餐;这是我期待的聚会因为我已经好几个月很少社交互动了。

那天早上我感觉到特别热。通常,我会归咎于炎热的天气。但是几天前,我和一位没有戴上口罩的人士一起乘车去开会,这位人士在路途中咳嗽了好几次。

我找不到我的电子温度计,所以在朋友还没有来接我之前,我步行到公寓的警卫室要求保安人员替我测量体温,不是一次而是两次。两次都是正常的体温。但可能我是无症状的!朋友到了我上车后,我还在担心。行驶不到一公里的路程,我致电另一个朋友取消午餐约会,之后要求驾驶的朋友送我回家。

到家后,我就在床上歇着—在中午时分—肯定自己会因喉咙痛(一个新冠病毒的症状)而醒过来。上述情况没有发生,但是,这经历却引领我阅读诗篇91篇 。按着所提到的 “瘟疫”和 “毒病”,这诗篇可能就是为我们生活的这个时代写的。我主要集中在前四句的经文。

  • 1 住在至高者隐密处的、必住在全能者的荫下。
  • 2 我要论到耶和华说、他是我的避难所、是我的山寨、是我的神、是我所倚靠的。
  • 3 他必救你脱离捕鸟人的网罗、和毒害的瘟疫。
  • 4他必用自己的翎毛遮蔽你.你要投靠在他的翅膀底下.他的诚实、是大小的盾牌。

这诗篇不是一个让我们有抵抗疾病或逆境免疫力的咒语。但是它再次使我安心,把我从非理性的恐惧中释放,因为这诗篇说上帝保守祂所爱的人和那些爱祂且信靠祂的人。第一和第二节不只说祂是为首的,有威严并全能的上帝,祂也是一位与我们有个人关系而且看顾我们的上帝。 这些经节也论及上帝在我们生命中的主权,若不是经过祂的许可,没有什么事可以临到我们。

新冠病毒可能不是那造成惧怕的因素,而是另一种的情况在威胁打压着我们。 我们是沉湎在自己的惧怕或自我怀疑中,还是沉浸在那至高者的庇护里?我想到一个走在父母身旁的小孩,他尝试以自己的小步配合父母的步伐,好让自己留在父母的影子下。这孩子是安全的因为他紧握着他的父母,而且被护着避开灼热的阳光。其实,第4节的意象是一只忠实的母鸟温暖而贴心的保护。

这就是诗人所信靠的上帝。这位上帝也是我们的避难所和我们的山寨,哪怕疫情持续地在我们周围肆虐,变幻、疑惧比比皆是。

今日祷告

阿爸天父,感谢祢不只是在新冠病毒上而是在所有的危害中都天天的爱顾和保护着我们。 但是我们也知道有时候不好的事情也会发生在那些爱祢的人身上。当这些事情发生时,帮助我们可以像诗人一般地说:“祢是我的避难所、是我的山寨、是我的神、是我所倚靠的。”无论在好或坏、喜乐或悲伤、病痛或健康的光景里,求祢都帮助我们牢实地握住祢。奉耶稣的名。阿们。

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