The loss we have experienced in this crisis is actually an opportunity for greater fruitfulness and hope in the Lord.
“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”—Jeremiah 17:8
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our lives in a way that few of us could have anticipated. My personal experience has felt like riding an emotional roller coaster. One moment everything seemed normal, stable, routine and grounded. The next moment it was like the world as we knew it had suddenly ceased to exist.
Things felt fluid and unstable, like the ground beneath our feet was no longer solid. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the word ‘unprecedented’ and I soon found it rolling off my tongue like it was a normal part of my vocabulary.
Both the health crisis and the economic crisis that have occurred as a result have left many of us feeling out of control. We’re not used to this in western culture. We make things happen. The world is a safe and predictable place—or at least it’s supposed to be.
This pandemic and the sense of loss of control and grief that it has brought for so many in our community is very real. So many hopes and dreams were shattered in an instant. So much loss: the loss of lives, the loss of jobs, the loss of financial security, the loss of health, the loss of relationships and connection, and the loss of freedom.
Some of the loss is huge, like the loss of a loved one. Some of it is smaller, but the pain is still real, like the reality of holding your wedding with only five people in attendance, or the loss of an overseas trip. Most of us have experienced this loss at one level or another in a very personal and profound way over the past few months.
Right when I felt like I was at my lowest, I encountered this text from Jeremiah 17:8 and I received a gift called hope. I experience hope like the way I experience a campfire. Hope brings me light in the darkness, it fights off the cold and it makes a situation that can sometimes feel scary or uncomfortable a lot more bearable.
Once the flame of hope was lit in my heart, new questions emerged for me. These questions were very different than the original ones. It shifted my mindset from what has been lost, to what has been gained? What good could emerge from this?
This Scripture reminded me that even in difficult times like these, God still has a plan for us. As I leaned into this hope I realised that there were so many good things that could come out of this if I allowed them to. Good things for me personally, and good things for my family and my relationships. Good things for my children and good things for my work.
In bringing all of this to prayer, I felt extremely convicted by the Lord that He did indeed have a good plan for this time and that if we remain close to Him, through His grace we will even find a way to be more fruitful than before.
Let us be people of hope. Let us be united in our families as we love, care and support each other through this challenging time; united in prayer; firmly rooted and planted together in Jesus, and united in our mission of bringing the Good News to the world.
Jesus, give us the grace we need to open our hearts to receive the gift of hope You offer us. Fill us anew with Your Holy Spirit. Father, we offer You our lives; our minds, hearts, strength and will. Triune God, help us to remain planted in You, centred on You, that we may be fruitful, even in difficult and challenging times, according to Your holy will. Amen.
31 Days Prayer Points
1. Pray for five people and share the Good News of Jesus with them.
2. Pray that God would use His people to reach one billion people this May.
3. Pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, both in Australia and globally.
Mark Doyle is the Executive Director of NET Ministries Australia, a Catholic movement that helps young people know and love Jesus and discover their unique identity and purpose in the world.
We invite you to join the daily 1-hour Zoom video National Prayer Call every night:
DATES: 1st– 31st May 2020
TIME: 8pm-9pm AEST
ZOOM URL LINK: https://zoom.us/j/776881184
ZOOM MEETING ID: 776881184
Every Sunday night in May, we will have an extended Zoom call from 6pm-9pm AEST.
See Zoom tutorial here.
Daily devotions brought to you by the Canberra Declaration.