‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah’ Psalm 46:1-3
Dear Friends – fellow sufferers and witnesses of troubling times – I wish to share with you some reflections from Psalm 46.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything that has been normal to us – our jobs, congregation worships, social outings, finances. We can’t hug our loved ones or shake hands with friends and we are unable to physically reach out in supportive embrace to dear bereaved ones. A grandma is not able to cradle her new born grandchild. Nothing is normal anymore. Isolation, quarantine, death, infection, job loss, lockdown and lock up have become our most popular words.
This psalm tells us that in in the shifting and unstable ‘new normal’ (that is like the shifting of the mountains and the turbulence of the seas), God is our refuge – a sure place of safety and protection, a haven of peace! We can rest secure in his faithfulness. Despite present challenges, the fact that we are alive and not infected with COVID-19 is a testimony to his ability to sustain us in the present and the future.
Some of us may be grieving the loss of close friends and relatives or of job losses. I lost one of my cousins to the COVID-19 pandemic and I know how it feels. We can only trust our gracious God for comfort and our future, knowing that he alone is powerful to make wars and devastations cease on earth (Psalm 46:8-9).
May I conclude with the Rogation Sunday prayer from the Anglican Book of Common Prayers: ‘Eternal Father, your Kingdom extends beyond space and time: grant that in this world of changing things we may hold fast to what endures forever; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!’
Delight, Florence and I are doing well and keeping safe at home in the midst of a total lockdown in Kaduna state. Church services are being held in homes and I have continued to prepare and preach sermons every Sunday – Florence and Delight being the only members of my congregation! The lockdown has afforded us time to rest, heal and study for personal edification. I have also been preparing for teaching as soon the lockdown is lifted and certain conditions eased.
All of us at ABC are safe and our families are keeping well. We are all in touch with each other by telephone and have held some strategy and prayer meetings over the phone. We eagerly wait for the easing of things and the resumption of college so that we can pick up the pieces where we left.
The school had to shut down following the federal and state governments’ directives regarding COVID-19. All the students are at their homes and they are safe. We are in touch with some of them but internet and telephone signals are weak in most parts of rural north Nigeria. We gave them some bible books to read in order to be reasonably acquainted with them, which will make teaching quicker and comprehension easier when school resumes.
We also have asked them to write their assigned expositions and their practice sermons and email to us as much as possible, so that they are kept busy and do not forget the things they have been taught. Pray that they continue to be safe and alert to the things they have learnt.
We wish you all God’s blessings. Please stay safe – the storm will be over! God is faithful!
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