I watch the scenes with deep concern. So many Myanmarese are on the streets to protest against the military coup that overturned a democratically elected government. I see the tanks and soldiers. My heart is in my mouth. We know friends in Myanmar some of whom are at the barricades. I wish I could do more. I pray.
As we begin another season of Lent there are no shortages of reminders that we live in a fallen world. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to decimate so much of life worldwide. A winter storm in Texas has taken lives. People die daily in Yemen, many of them children. Earlier in the month, a burst glacier in India resulted in a flood that took 14 lives with 150 people still missing. The list goes on.
On a personal note, my mum, 93, had a health scare last Sat. She became unresponsive and her blood pressure began to drop. The staff at her nursing home thought it might be a stroke. They rushed her to hospital. Thank God it wasn’t a stroke and she is stable. But I was very frustrated that because of Covid restrictions I couldn’t rush from Singapore to Penang to be by her side.
Jesus told us:
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24:3–8 NIV)
Sometimes it’s hard not to feel down. Yet Your words return to us as we begin this season of Lent, reminding us that after death comes life. You remind us that You are sovereign, You are working out Your purposes in history, and You have a timetable. Your timing is perfect. Just as a child comes after nine months of pregnancy, neither earlier nor later, You will return to birth the new heavens and the new earth at the perfect time. But forgive us if sometimes we ask “How long O Lord?” (Revelation 6:10).
So let us encourage each other, as Chuck Colson encouraged us:
And so, I invite you to a holy Lent. Take up the opportunity to dwell upon the grief of our broken world, the sin within your heart, and the deep love of God that exceeds these realities. Reflecting on the hospitality of God, consider the needs of your neighbor, especially those without life’s basic needs. And, most importantly, in the gritty details of Lent, don’t forget—Easter is coming!
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