The hope I am talking about is not a wish. It is an assurance. An assurance that God is in control. He has allowed this consequence of sin for His purposes and it has not taken Him by surprise. He loves us incredibly much and wants what is best for us. He ultimately wants to be glorified and will be glorified whether or not we recognize it or understand. Although we experience many types of fear for different reasons, these truths remain and thus give hope in uncertain times. God has secured our eternity. Why should we be concerned with temporal things? Even as missionaries our minds struggle with this perspective as well.
In hopes of a quicker response from immigration, we were able to send in a subsequent visa application… just before things got worse and NZ closed. All immigration offices are closed until further notice and our important documents are floating out there somewhere.
Throughout this pandemic, we here in America should feel fortunate we have it better than some. New Zealand was the first country to take drastic measures to shut down and go on alert level 4. For 5 weeks, only two types of businesses were open — larger grocery stores and convenience stores/gas stations. Even 1/4 of gas stations were closed. Farmers had to plow under their crops because there was no one to harvest them. People were fined if they were caught traveling for “non-essentials”, and some members of parliament were demoted. They have recently lowered the alert level to 3, but still have a long way to go to recover. Many churches resorted to online services and will have to continue for a while longer.
In the midst of many discouraging facts during this time such as, increased family abuse, substance abuse, and mental illness, there are some positive things we as Christians can relate to. The world’s push for safety today is distancing ourselves. But, God desires us to live in His presence, come close and stay close (Ps. 65:4; Ps. 145:18; Micah 6:6-8; Hebrews 10:19-22; James 4:8;). God gives us an unlimited supply of spiritual “Personal Protection Equipment” (Ephesians 6:10-16). And, He has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Tēnā Koutou (Maori = Thank you) for your prayers and partnership.
Concerned for Kiwis,
There are many lessons to learn through times of fear and isolation. Here are a few I found helpful from another missionary as he reminded me about Noah.
Lesson 1 – Like Noah, obey God by doing exactly as He asked. Even when the project becomes too difficult or takes too long. Lesson 2 – Like Noah, invest in your family. You have an excellent opportunity to unite, show love and grow spiritually in the Lord. Lesson 3 – Like Noah, keep busy. Responsibilities and productive activities keep the body active and the mind healthy. Lesson 4 – Like Noah, get ready for the outside world. When the quarantine is over you will also have a chance to start over. How can you prepare better today to reach your brother tomorrow? “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”
(1 Corinthians 16:13)