Many of you will remember with deep appreciation the ministry a few years ago of The Rev Dr David Cupples, minister of Enniskillen Presbyterian Church. I recently came across an article which he wrote asking the question:-
Where is God speaking in the current crisis?
Since what he wrote was so insightful and helpful, I asked David’s permission if I might make his comments more widely available on our web site, which he gladly did. Here is what he shared:-
1. In the silence – unless we expose ourselves to constant TV or social media, noise has been eliminated. Noise that drowns out the voice of God. Silencing other voices that the One Voice might be heard.
2. In our imprisonment – how many have met God in prison? The usual activities were the distraction – now they all stop. We are confined. Is God putting some people in a corner to confront them with His presence? Slow down and think.
3. In the toppling of idols – sport, economy, work – the idols have been brought down. Maybe the true God wants people to realise what is enduring and eternal and of ultimate worth.
4. In our suffering – C.S.Lewis said “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Nothing to add to these oft-quoted words. May God’s megaphone waken people to the reality of the need to prepare for the life to come and the hope of eternal life in Christ.
5. In the needs of others – the person we pass by in their need, not wanting to get involved and be inconvenienced out of our selfish ways – this is the voice of God calling us to repent and reframe our lives around service of others.
6. In our loss of control – we are not the masters of the universe – there will be no vaccine for a long time to come. We are not the sovereign controllers of the world – someone else is. Is the true Ruler trying to shake our foundations? Show us our ultimate smallness,and humble our pride?
7. In our fear – especially of death. Apparently God says to people 365 times in Scripture – Fear not. So when we are afraid, it is a moment to hear the voice of the One who has overcome every enemy. The storm has come. Many are saying “Carest Thou not that we perish”. To many He will say “Fear not – peace be still.”
8. In our insecurity – the panic buying is a manifestation of deep insecurity. Use money, buy stuff, batten down the hatches – and feel secure in our little hiding hole. How much God wants people to know a perfect and restful security in His care.
9. In our solitude – for some self-isolation may mean solitude – a place where many have met the Living Presence whom they never noticed in the rush of life as they met hundreds of others day by day.
10. In the gift of a sabbath – in short I think God is giving everyone a Jubilee Year – an enforced Sabbath in which we can rediscover him, rediscover one another, what it means to be a community, and give the land a rest. God’s Jubilee Year which even the ancient Israelites never observed but which was given for the blessing and the good of the whole nation. When God sent Judah into exile, he said the land would have its rest – experience all the jubilee years it had never had as the people ignored his wise and loving instruction. We are being sent into exile as a community, sent to dwell in a strange land for a while. But is it not a severe mercy – a judgment upon our way of life that is meant to save us from ourselves, from our own folly? Is it not a gift from His gracious hand to stop us in our mad rush to destruction and to rediscover the true meaning of life – the worship of the true God, love for one another as neighbours and respect for creation – and in the face of death, preparation for the life to time where the new creation will come.
Is God speaking? Absolutely loud and clear. The question is – are we listening?
These ten points have been expanded in a sermon, which you can watch here
With warmest best wishes from Frank.