Abba, hold us near


News of the coronavirus continues, a drone in our ears the moment we turn on the news.  With each day it creeps closer to our homes. Some say it’s nothing to fear, others lay out nightmarish scenarios. Our local schools are planning for extended closure. Our church attendance was down yesterday and I wonder if fear kept some home?  I visited a restaurant last night for dinner and could not help but notice the empty tables all around me. Our economy, so strong and robust, is taking a beating as a result of the uncertainty.

Not for many years have I sensed such deep and pervasive fear as I feel in our land today.  I am not a medical professional so I must not opine about the virus. The one thing all the experts agree on is the importance of hand washing and taking precautions if you have a compromised immune system due to age or serious illness.

Here is what I can say with complete confidence.  We must not live in fear, becoming overwhelmed by bad news.  David, in the shepherd’s Psalm declares –  “Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid…”  How can he say that? “…for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” (Psalm 23)  Christian, we do not walk alone, our Abba is with us.

When we are walking through dark times, when disappointment rises to meet us, even when demons attack- He is with us.  Many years after his fearful failures, a spiritually matured Peter wrote to encourage disciples who were ‘in the dark.’  “Don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT

Let’s take our cue from the response of the apostles that is recorded in Acts 16.  They had every good reason to be afraid and discouraged. After doing much good in the city of Philippi, these godly men charged with disturbing the peace, beaten by the authorities, and chained to a wall in a filthy jail! But, they chose a different way, focusing on the love of God. “Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears.” (Acts 16:25, The Message) You know the rest of the story… an earthquake shook open the doors; the jailer’s heart was opened by the sincere faith he saw in these two evangelists; and the light broke through!

It would be wrong of me to ask you to ignore the real and present threat. Christians who hide in denial only look foolish, not faith-filled. This is a time to learn new faith, to take the Word to heart, to look to the hand of the Father, as you declare – “The Lord is close to me!”  Like Paul and Silas, we find a song to sing; not a mournful one, but a song of hope.

For the people of God there is a place of rest in the center of His care. This crisis is a call to prayer, a reminder of our frail flesh, and an invitation to grow into His love.  Afraid? Tell Him. Unsure? Ask for guidance. Confused? Pray for wisdom. Above all, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16, NIV)

Here is a word from the Word. Throw open your heart, pull up the shades of your understanding, and let the Light shine in.

Meditate on this word from the Word.  Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day, nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. But you will see it with your eyes; you will see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your dwelling. (Psalm 91:5-10, NLT)

Abba, my heart is settled on You,
Holding onto Your promise of life and Light.
Around me the storms of fear are turning into a tempest. 

I pray for those who are sickened, Your healing;
For those who care for the sick, Your protection;
For all of us the courage to care, to be selfless,
To look beyond our own comfort. 

Speak peace to my heart,
like You did to the stormy lake in Galilee.
Increase my faith, Lord, I pray.

Be for me, for all who trust You, the
“Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, and
Light in the darkness.”

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen

Way Maker

You are here moving in our midst
I worship You I worship You
You are here working in this place
I worship You I worship You

(You are) Way Maker Miracle Worker Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness my God that is who You are

You are here touching ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You
You are here healing ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You

You are here turning lives around
I worship You I worship You
You are here mending ev’ry heart
I worship You yeah I worship You Lord

That is who You are
That is who You are

Even when I don’t see it You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it You’re working
You never stop You never stop working

Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu © 2016 Integrity Music Europe (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music [DC Cook]))

CCLI License # 810055

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