This article appeared in the February 2021 edition of Itchen Valley News
‘Its too much. Its just all too much’
It wouldn’t be at all surprising if you felt this way at the moment. Working from home is bad enough, the challenges of your business, the worry about your friends and relations who have the virus…will they make it? But now you are home schooling your children as well. Some of them don’t want to engage with lessons on zoom. Some of them run riot as soon as you turn to your work. Your teenager keeps throwing rugby balls around in the house or seems to be burrowed into their room and you cannot get them out for some fresh air and exercise. Things get said between you and the strongest of relationships suddenly looks shaky. You go to bed exhausted and wake with a sense of dread. When is it all going to end? Somehow knowing that many people in the cities in small flats in tower blocks are much worse off than you doesn’t seem to help. You don’t even have confidence that the politicians and their advisers really know what is going to happen and how we are going to get out of this. What if the virus mutates again and the vaccines don’t work? Fears grip you in the middle of the night.
Our nation has faced many great crises in its history from invasion, from civil war and indeed from disease. It is not at all surprising that we should face such a crisis in our own lifetimes. In all these great crises both the country and individuals were faced with the realisation that the future was totally outside their own control. In desperation, our people have always turned to their Creator to ask for help. We think particularly of May 1940 when our soldiers were surrounded at Dunkirk and it looked as if nothing could stop a Nazi invasion of Britain. The King led the nation in prayer. People flooded into their local churches. It was a turning point. By the following Tuesday Churchill had seen off the opposition in his War Cabinet (some of whom wanted to surrender) and we embarked on the colossally dangerous, but ultimately successful, strategy of fighting to the end.
Prayer makes a difference. Whether it is the prayer by the nation or prayers by individuals. But we really need to mean it! We should put all our anxiety and fears and anguish into our prayers to God (whether or not we are church goers). We should beg him for his protection over our families and our businesses. We should appeal to him for the recovery of our friends and relations who have Covid. Then we need to trust him that he has it all covered. This is ultimately what faith is – not a belief in a set of propositions – but trust in our heavenly Father that he is for us and will be with us in the challenges we face. As we pray more and more – every night as we go to sleep – every morning as we stir our morning tea or coffee – we will start to see things change and we will start to know his presence in our situation.
Prayer by others can help as well. We have had many extraordinary answers to prayer in the parish over the last few years. If you are troubled at the moment or are worried about someone with Covid and would like Lucy and I and/or our confidential prayer team to pray for you and your friends or relations, then please do contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about prayer during the Coronavirus crisis, how we might pray together as families please see https://www.24-7prayer.com/coronavirusprayer