The Prime Minister said, “For us, 2020 is going to be a year like no other.” This is certainly true! The COVID-19 pandemic has put us, and societies around the world, under threat, with restrictions and losses that we haven’t experienced before. We have some sense of hope now that “a corner may have been turned” in Australia’s fight against the virus, but when and how victory might be gained over COVID-19 is still very uncertain.
In Psalm 116 the writer talks about when he was “entangled inthe cords of death”, “the anguish of the grave overcame him” (v3); he almost died! In his alarm he said “everyone is a liar” (v11) – i.e. as far as he could see, all human and earthly powers were opposed to him. This is when events just “run right over the top of us”, and there’s nothing we can do about it! Humanly speaking, we cannot see a way out of it, and all hope is gone.
Yet curiously, in the middle of all of this – i.e., while everything is still out of control, he says that he “loves the Lord” (v1), “trusts the Lord” (v11), and “cries out to the Lord” – “Save me!” (v4). The reason that he does this is not because he pretends that things aren’t as bad as they are; nor because he spiritually “pumps up” his faith to convince himself that he can overcome the terrible situation. Rather, it is because He trusts the promise that “the Lord is gracious and righteous”, and “full of compassion” (v5).
And the Psalm writer says that the Lord “delivered me from death”, “that I may walk before him in the land of the living” (vv8,9). This doesn’t mean that God all of a sudden took away the painfully difficult situation that the writer was in, but it does mean that He saved him from death, protected him, and strengthened him to “stand up” and continue to “walk” forward, through it, in great hope, and into a place of peace.
If 2020 is a “year like no other”, as we look to God in faith, and call upon Him, we can equally discover again that He is gracious like no other, and that He carries us through 2020, giving us many unexpected good gifts along the way.
Grace and cheers, Jonathan.