Ancient words echo through the storm

Who would have thought that a global pandemic could teach me to trust God more fully and live for him wholeheartedly?

Initially, I was not personally impacted by the encroaching pandemic, but it didn’t take long before Covid-19 stalked into my life. The hospital at which my daughter is an Occupational Therapist began to see cases of it, and I felt a growing concern for her. A friend lost her father to the disease. My husband was retrenched as the economic repercussions of lockdown were felt. My youngest daughter’s ongoing battle with anxiety intensified and lead to her dropping out of University.

Like other families across the world, we found ourselves in the middle of a strange, unending and frightening storm. As the unrelenting waves of difficult news and circumstances battered us, I had to acknowledge how powerless I was in the face of it. All I could do was cling ever more tightly to the God in whom I trust. For the truth is that, although we are powerless, we are not alone.

Two verses in Psalm 71 took on special meaning for me.

“But I will keep on hoping for you to help me; I will praise you more and more. I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, for I am overwhelmed by how much you have done for me” (Psalm 71:14-15, NLT).

Just as the Psalmist had discovered in his own time of crisis, hope in the Lord became my anchor in the storm, and praising him lifted my eyes above it. Words penned thousands of year before, reminded me to look beyond the turmoil of my circumstances and focus instead on the One who brings us safely to harbour.

With God’s presence steadying me, I became even more convinced that those around me needed his peace as never before, and so the second part of this Scripture has become a conviction to live out my faith wholeheartedly.  

I realise anew that my life and words—both spoken and written—must faithfully proclaim to a fearful world that there is a God who loves, a God who saves, a God who shelters the powerless in the storm. And this God is more powerful than any storm we face, for he is the same one who said “Quiet! Be still!” and the wind whimpered, and the waves sulked into silky stillness.

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“Quiet! Be still” (Mark 4:39)

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I wrote this article in response to a contest writing prompt:

What Scripture passage has gained special meaning for you during the global pandemic, and why?

This writing prompt is from MAI, a ministry that equips Christian writers and publishers across the world. As a trustee on the MAI-Africa board, I can’t enter the contest but I loved writing an answer for myself, and I encourage you to do the same.

If you would like to enter the contest (deadline 31 August), read the contest guidelines.

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Joan
    Thank you for sharing. Thinking of you.

  2. Diana Agbayani

    This is a very relevant and timely article. Take care. God bless. Sawubona.

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and what is happening to you and your loved ones. May God’s grace and peace enfold you all especially at this time. Much love

  4. Maybe this is God’s message during this time, as we realise how powerless we are and face the reality that we are not in control – we look up and fix our eyes and hearts on him, not the circumstances (how often have we heard that?) We are not alone!
    May we all look for ways to proclaim the message that our God is greater than any storm.

    Thank you Joan. God bless xx

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