Comfort Greater Than a Pandemic

As our lives have changed drastically in the last few weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now in our own state of Michigan a “stay-at-home” order was issued Monday by our governor with further restrictions on our activities and work, the fears and worries mount. Flooded daily with information about the spread of the deadly virus, we feel overwhelmed by the news. We try to stay occupied and keep our own minds as well as those of our children and grandchildren off the threat lurking all around.

Psalm23-2

But as children of God, we must know we also have an abundance of special peace and hope coming our way in these days. We have a comfort greater than any and all pandemics! Because we have a comfort that comes from the triune God, rooted in the love of our heavenly Father, accomplished by the saving work of the Son,  Jesus Christ, and applied by the irresistible grace of the Holy Spirit. Now, there’s an anchor for our souls!

And in these times, we are also being flooded with the gospel of this divine comfort. I think of all the wonderful sermons being produced by our pastors, just for these times. A couple of examples are Rev. C. Haak’s at Georgetown PRC this past week, “Souls Redeemed from Fear,” based on Isaiah 43:1. and Rev. C. Griess’ at First PRC, “Coronavirus and the King,” based on Rev.4-5.

Then there are the precious pastoral meditations pastors, elders, and members are writing and sending out to the congregations. One of our elders at Faith PRC, Tom Cammenga, has written a couple, including this one this week, which reads in part as follows:

To whom or to what are you looking right now for peace and security?  Is it yourself, or your neighbor? Is it the government? Is it the stock of food and goods you have amassed?  Is it the money that you have in the bank or in a retirement account? All these things are fleeting and can be lost in an instant.  

Let us instead, with David, seek the Lord.  It is only in Him that we have deliverance. It is in Him alone that we have our boast.  It is in Him alone that we put our trust. Let it be our prayer together as a congregation for ourselves and for one another that the Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts that enables us to say with David in Psalm 34:1-2: “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad”.

What then is the result of our seeking after and trusting in God?  First, He hears us. Think of that for a moment and be amazed and humbled.  The Almighty God of heaven and earth hears US! We who are less than the dust and are worthy of nothing less than eternal damnation!  He, as it were, bends His ear to us in His Fatherly love and tender mercy, and HEARS us. What a wonder!  Psalm 34:15: “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry”.

Secondly, He answers us.  Our God is not the god of wood or stone that is unable to answer those who seek deliverance from them.  Jehovah is the LIVING God and answers our requests. Psalm 145:18: “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth”. 

Finally, He delivers us, and that deliverance is total and complete.  Yes, He certainly delivers us from evils and difficulties here in this life.  And when, as it is at times, not His will to deliver us from them, He works them out for our eternal good and advantage.  Ultimately and most importantly of course, He delivers us from our sin and the misery that is ours because of it. Even now, though we still battle with our old human nature, in Christ, we have been made righteous, and in Christ we have and enjoy that beautiful Covenant relationship of friendship with God.  Even when we are afflicted, alone, or, as now, when we are unable to come together as a congregation, we are never left desolate and without hope. Psalm 34:22: “The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate”.   

Our own pastor, Rev. C. Spronk has produced some special YouTube videos with a comforting message from God’s Word. You will find one such here:

Besides, we have God’s Word of comfort through radio messages, such as on the Reformed Witness Hour. The Facebook page of the RWH featured one today, ‘Trusting and Not Fearing,” which was also posted on the  PRC website.

And then there is the powerful message of music. On the Voices of Victory Facebook page today the song “Don’t Be Afraid” was featured. It’s a beautiful song of comfort for these days. Read and listen to these lyrics based on Mark 4:35-41:

1. The disciples were tossed on a cold, raging sea
But Jesus was sleeping so peacefully
They cried, “Master, don’t you care that we die?”
But He spoke spoke three small words, “peace be still,”
It was the storm that had to die

(Chorus)
So don’t be afraid when the darkness is closing
The Master is near, His voice calms every storm
So when the world says it’s over, the Master says, “No, I’ve just begun”
In your darkest of times, whether rain or in sunshine, don’t be afraid

2. I know how it feels to be tossed by the storms
And I know how it feels to be battered and worn
But then I know how it feels to be carried on through
Called by the strength of the One who is faithful and true

Repeat Chorus

And, of course, the Psalms speak to us in times like this too, because they speak for us, as God’s children speak (sing and pray) out of the experience of their own personal doubts, worries, and fears. You are encouraged to make use of our Psalter online, including the lyrics, piano accompaniment, and special videos by the PR Psalm Choir.

Here’s a few lines from Psalter 34, based on Psalm 18:

1. I love the Lord, His strength is mine;
He is my God, I trust His grace.
My fortress high, my shield divine,
My Saviour and my hiding place.

2. My prayer to God shall still be raised
When troubles thick around me close;
The Lord, most worthy to be praised,
Will rescue me from all my foes.

3. When, floods of evil raging near,
Down nigh to death my soul was brought,
I cried to God in all my fear;
He heard and great deliverance wrought.

May we avail ourselves of all these means in the days ahead. God has comfort for us, the only comfort there is in this present world, comfort greater than the pandemic.

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