by Barbie Perks
As I write, the world is in a full-blown panic attack due to the coronavirus pandemic. There are times when I flick through different news channels and begin to feel the anxiety rise in me too. We flew out of Tanzania back to South Africa on a routine trip, and find ourselves locked down with friends for the duration. Family members came back to South Africa for the Chinese New Year holiday, and were locked out of returning, and now, just as they were preparing to return, are locked in!
I have been pondering a section of Scripture the last few days, one that is not often referenced these days. Genesis 6:5-6 says,
The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he has made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” So God told Noah, “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God…” (v9) to build an ark to prepare for the calamity that was coming upon the earth.
It’s not my place to comment on the state of the world or to pass judgment; what I am wanting to focus on is how Noah was obedient to the call of the Lord to build that ark, to provision it and receive the animals and to then go in to it with his family and be shut up in that ark for as long as it took. He had no idea really of what was going to happen, no idea of the destruction that was coming through the rain and the flooding. Genesis 7:16 “….then the Lord shut him in”. Noah was locked down – a position we find ourselves in, although we do so semi-voluntarily. Through technology we are able to communicate with others and receive information about what is going on in the rest of the world so we are not isolated in the sense that Noah and his family were.
What I find amazing is that it rained for 40 days and nights, and then the earth was flooded for 150 days. (Gen 7:12, 17 and 24) Then the water receded, and if you check the numbers, it’s just over a year that has passed by the time God says to Noah “come out of the ark…” (Gen 8:15) There are currently countries considering extending their lockdowns, border closures and travel restrictions. Life as we know it has already changed dramatically for many of us, and it will continue to change. There are many, many ways that this pandemic is affecting us globally, and we cannot begin to imagine how far-reaching its effects will be as time goes by.
What I do know is that God, our God, is sovereign over all situations, including this pandemic. While we are locked down, we have time to read, consider, pray, and wait on God. We have time to reflect, to repent, and to draw near to God. We have time to count our blessings, to connect with family and friends, to recover from the chronic exhaustion of just living in this hectic world. We have time to intercede for others, the only thing some of us can do to mitigate this disaster.
May the Lord be close to you during this time, whatever your situation, whatever your concern.
I have found this video very helpful: