Article 2: Letters from the desk of a Great-Grandfather
Mark 4 tells of how Jesus took his disciples off in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. A furious storm suddenly hit them, unexpected and seemingly from nowhere.All of a sudden, the disciples were out of their depth, even the experienced ones, and they were overcome with fear. How landlubbers like Matthew felt, I can't imagine! It is a surprising parallel to the situation we are all in today. Nationwide there seems to be a miasma (google it!) of fear over not just this country but internationally.Folk are deeply troubled, fearful, about their futures, their livelihoods, their lives even, and possibly losing loved ones.You can almost smell the fear.Neighbours try to be cheerful, claim to be OK and weathering the storm, but underneath are upset, nervous, even openly afraid. Facing three months of house arrest, relying on the love and help of others, I have found the following three things very helpful, and I recommend them to you.
1. Turn to Jesus, as the disciples did.
They were still learning just who Jesus is, but we have the benefit of two thousand years of hindsight. HE is in charge, not the virus. not the government. not circumstances. The very universe only continues to exist because he says so. Ruth said to me this week, ''Isn't it good that Jesus doesn't have to be two,metres away?'' He is in the boat with us, right alongside. shoulder to shoulder, and we have the incredible privilege of an instant audience with the King. We need to constantly (more than once a day!) remind ourselves to seek him out, choose to recognise his authority and talk to him at anytime. If we surround ourselves with praise and pray to him constantly, we find the fear lifts. We turn from something that is great to someone who is far greater. Short snatches of conversation with him (prayer!) can fit in at all sorts of times, in between daily duties and activities. But we must consciously choose to do it, to turn to him.
2. Reach out in compassion to all we can.
There is never going to be a better opportunity to contact neighbours. Seize the day, or else we'll be shamed by all those non church folk who are doing so much. Acts of kindness, no strings attached, is the daily witness of the followers of Jesus, and it is to be our lifestyle as much as we are able. Anything from shopping for the elderly to a phone call or text to the lonely. There is plenty opportunity for each of us to demonstrate Kingdom life.
3. Be careful what you watch on TV.
It's essential to keep in touch to know what we have to do and how it's going. But beware watching too much news. It can be the fuel which feeds the fires of fear. Sometimes too much information can depress us and leave us really fearful. Like the disciples in the boat, look at Jesus, not the storm.
Rather, look out for things that can make you laugh or at least smile.It can explode tension and it does us good physically and emotionally. Our family keep sending us things on Whatsapp, like the picture of Boris Johnson, the man who finally ended the DFS sale. After all, being under three months house arrest, means we can't see those people we didn't want to see in the first place! And remember when the clocks go forward, you have an extra hour to spend indoors!
Keep wise, keep well, keep blessing others, keep battling on.