As we begin to ease our way out of lockdown, the guidelines that are being issued are somewhat more complicated. Instead of a simple, stay at home, we are now being told…depending on where you are in the United Kingdom- different messages. How many people we can meet up with and how far we can travel and what we are and are not allowed to do -so many more things to get to grips with and manage sensibly. In addition, after such a long time of being restricted in all our movements, many are finding the increase of freedom actually rather frightening and worrying. You can listen to conflicting advice from the government, from scientists and from health experts and end up feeling even more confused! When we were told to stay at home, although hard to adjust to, there was an element of security in the very clear-cut message. Now we have to start making far more nuanced changes in our lives whilst all the time being reminded that the virus has not gone anywhere and is still out there. In all these ups and downs, questions, fears and uncertainties I am greatly encouraged – and challenged-by Pauls words to the church in Philippi;
“ . I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me….
Paul may not have lived through Covid-19 but his life was certainly never easy! From shipwrecks to persecution, hunger to prison, beating and stoning, adrift on seas and rivers, cold and sleepless, Paul endured far greater hardship and uncertainties that we ever will. And yet, through all of that his faith remained. He may have struggled, as do we all at times with doubts and questions, but in the end his trust in God meant that he found strength for each new challenge, each new set of circumstances and with them the God given gift of contentment. How encouraging to know that God continues to offer each one of us those same gifts of strength and contentment in our uncertain world today!