Tuesday, 3 August 2021
Title: Peace and Hope
By: Stephen Wong
Text: Romans 5:1-5
Many of my friends are filled with fear during the current pandemic which has been on-going for the last 17 months. I am like them, quite concerned and personally worried over the effects of the pandemic. I have been thinking of all possibilities to protect my family from the potent dangers outside. Our phone conversations invariably lead us to the topic of covid infections which have escalated in an exponential way that worries all of us. While we continue to take precautions and make attempts to strengthen our immunity from infection, God’s Word is the one reliable source of strength and spiritual immunity that we can take hold of, to confront the tumultuous situation.
In our old previous nature, we were in rebellion towards God (Romans 3:23) and we were thus enemies of God. In Romans 5 however, we are told that we have peace with God today because the enmity between God and man has been resolved by Jesus, who died a sacrificial death on the cross. He received the full wrath of God, for the sins of mankind, at the cross. When you have peace with God, there is no longer any reason not to approach the Almighty God and have fellowship with Him. In Philippians 4:7 Paul again talks about the peace that surpasses all understanding that will guard our hearts and minds when we bring all of our concerns to God. The peace of God helps to dispel the fears and the gloom that confront us this season. And not only are we assured of peace filling our hearts, God promises grace in abundance for us to stand on.
Secondly, we are told to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. God’s Word provides us with a glimpse into the fact that we will one day depart from this world to be with God. That is true hope expressed in a tangible way i.e., we will die and be resurrected to be with Christ one day whom we shall see face-to-face. Indeed, I ask God to make this hope my great joy too in facing the uncertainties of this time. As God’s people, the Holy Spirit is given to us as a seal and deposit to guarantee our salvation (Eph. 1:3-14) and nothing can take this completed work of God away from us. So, we draw comfort in Him that in life, disease or death, we have a glorious future.
Finally, we are to persevere in these trying times. Perseverance is the outcome of being patient with the suffering we are experiencing now. In my counselling learnings, one of the approaches towards dealing with various challenges is not to fight bodily or mental challenges head-on with anger, but to understand your pains and feelings better by being “mindful.” It is hard to persevere when you are alone in this world regardless of the techniques that we use. But with the presence of God in our lives, we can persevere and be victorious in the face of trials. Paul tells us that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance builds our character and character gives hope for the future. And we persevere by talking to God concerning our fears and needs, whatever they might be. And God will grant His help and relief to our hearts and minds.
My brethren, are you suffering today? Are you despairing over the escalating plague and social-economic turmoil in the country? Speak to God and the church. There is peace, grace, hope and joy from God, awaiting to be experienced in your life. Do not despair but trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding to resolve difficult challenges in your life, but in all situations acknowledge the Lord Jesus is Lord over your sufferings; and the pathway to health, joy and glory shall be made clear to you.
Dear Lord Jesus, our wonderful Saviour, we thank you for Your word of encouragement to us that in the worst of circumstances, there is hope and opportunity for all of us because we have placed our trust in You. We pray for Your help and encouragement to enable us to persevere amidst much emotional, financial and physical strain so that we will be victorious till the very end. We do pray for an end to this pandemic as Your purposes are being fulfilled daily in our community and the nation. Protect us from harm. Enable us to be strong and healthy throughout this period of the pandemic. We pray Your will be done in Malaysia. In the precious name of our Lord and Saviour, we pray. Amen.
最后，我们要在这些艰难的时刻坚定不移。毅力是我们经历痛苦时保持忍耐的结果。在我的辅导学习中，应对各种挑战的方法之一不是用愤怒来正面对抗身体或精神上的挑战，而是通过 “正念” 来更好地理解您的痛苦和感受。无论我们使用什么方法，当您独自一人生活在这个世界时，是很难坚定下去的。但只要我们的生命有上帝的同在，我们就能在试炼中坚忍不拔且得胜。保罗告诉我们，患难产生毅力，毅力塑造我们的品格，品格给我们带来未来的盼望。我们坚持不懈地与告诉上帝我们的恐惧和需要，无论它们是什么。上帝将赐予我们心灵的帮助和宽慰。