Grace in a Pandemic

We hoped and prayed that the pandemic would be over by now, but it seems to be far from finished. Instead, we’re living in difficult times, experiencing many challenges and uncertainties. And yet, when it is all over, what will the legacy of this COVID pandemic be?

Will we have built walls? Or will we have grown in love and empathy towards our neighbour?

Will we have allowed Satan to drive a wedge between brothers and sisters in Christ? Or will we have grappled with our sinful hearts and shown humility, gentleness and long-suffering?

Will we have become more fearful and anxious? Or will we have deepened our understanding of ‘trust in God?’

The pandemic has brought about many polarising topics: restrictions, government boundaries and vaccinations, to name just a few. There are many differences of opinion and, it appears, much reason for conflict. Emotions run high. Fear is all around us. Information is propagated widely and incessantly.

And while all this goes on, every one of us battles with our own sinful hearts and flesh. In times like these, it is especially easy to look down on a brother or sister who have reached a different conclusion to us. We very quickly become proud or self-righteous, assuming the ‘higher-position.’ We swiftly make assumptions or judge others – even before speaking with them. We can be bitter or resentful for the way we have been treated or because another’s actions have brought hardship upon our lives. We want to speak and debate with force, pride, anger, fear or impatience.

But the thing is, ultimately, our battle is not with COVID. Right back in the Garden of Eden, God declared what the real battle is. And now in 2022, as Australia deals with a pandemic, Satan is seeking a foothold in our hearts and in our churches. While the government causes segregation and society looks to put their hope and trust in a variety of man-made solutions, it should not be so amongst God’s children.

God calls us to a higher standard of living and behaving. In the midst of difficult circumstances, God commands us to show grace.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Grace can be explained here as ‘comfort, admonition, and everything that aids the salvation of the soul.’ Our attitudes, words, thoughts or actions of pride, anger or resentment are things that build walls, and do not unify Christ’s church. Grace, on the other hand, edifies and enables us to help and love each other while we journey here on earth as pilgrims to the new heaven and new earth.

Grace: for that brother or sister who has spoken harshly to us.

Grace: when we seek out a fellow believer and listen empathetically rather than judging or jumping to conclusions.

Grace: as we walk alongside someone wrestling with the mandate or the vaccine.

Grace: for those who have reached a different conclusion or have different convictions to us.

Grace: when a brother or sister shares their fears of the disease.

Grace: as we pray for and seek to obey and respect the government God has placed over us.

Grace: for those who are burdened by conflicting information, stories and opinions.

Grace: when another believer shares the heartache of being unable to travel and visit with family or loved ones.

Grace: for that brother or sister struggling in the face of work uncertainties or changes brought about by the pandemic.

Yet, there will be times when we are confronted with the sinfulness of our own hearts and lives and when we think or speak with anger or pride or fear. There will be times when we must seek forgiveness from a brother or sister, because we have not acted with grace.

Daily, we are all in desperate need of grace. All praise and thanks to God, who knows this and has more grace for us than we can comprehend.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

With this grace of God in our hearts, let us show grace to one another. Let us pray for His Spirit to work mightily in our hearts so that we can think, speak, and act with grace to one another.

Natika Ballast
FRC West Albany

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