Everything changed when the pandemic hit. The events, which unfolded globally since March 2020, have affected us in ways we could never imagine. Livelihoods, businesses, and lifestyles have changed and some beyond recognition. The unexpected and never-before-seen events has caused many of us to ask questions, which have no answers. The global pandemic also created a spirit of fear so overwhelming and crippling, many did not know where to turn.
Often, we go to a family member or seek out our closest friends when we are going through a tough time. Although we can find comfort in this way, it is a temporary fix. The initial fears and concerns that subsided during that deep heart-to-heart soon return and, at times, even more ferociously. Then the worrying and fretting begins all over again.
According to a study in 2018 by the Mental Health Foundation on www.mentalhealth.org.uk, 74% of people in the UK reported feeling so stressed that they were unable to cope. Stress is a major issue and trying to cope often proves unsuccessful. The figure cited in study indicates that we are desperately in need of help to deal with stress. However, it is also evident that we alone cannot find permanent solutions to problems.
Who can we to turn to
This pandemic is one of those times when we do not know where to turn, and people are referring to this period as ‘troubling times’. Yet there is one person we can always turn to in troubling times, and that is Jesus. The Bible tells us that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear. Even though the earth be removed. And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea’ (Psalm 46:1-2). A refuge is a shelter, which symbolises a place of safety and somewhere we can retreat.
God being a present help, means when we need immediate help and safe place to go, we will find it in God and in His son, Jesus Christ. This passage also reassures us not to fear no matter how huge the crisis appears. In another Psalm, we are encouraged to pour our heart before the Lord. ‘Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah’ (Psalm 62:8). This guidance is comforting as it highlights that we can come to Jesus with our fears, problems, and concerns. We can tell Him our worries and go to Him in prayer to ask for help. No matter how overwhelming things may be, we can ask Jesus for help because no problem we face is too big for God.
Why we should come to him
It could be fears over this pandemic, concerns for a loved one’s health or coping with family relationship breakdown that have us sinking into despair. Yet, we can take our burden to Jesus because He cares about how life affects us. The Bible tells us to ‘cast your cares onto Him because He cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7). We may think that Jesus is not concerned with our problems and worries; however, we are wrong. In this passage, Peter the apostle clearly states God cares about us and is telling us to give Him our burdens.
Jesus also says, ‘come to me all you who are labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28). We cannot get a clearer invitation than this. God’s wisdom far outweighs our own, and taking our troubles to Him is the wisest thing we can do in times of despair. Not only does Jesus care about us but He can also give us the help or answers we need. Although this might not always be instant or in a way we expect, Jesus will answer. The Psalmist wrote that ‘in the day of my trouble I will call upon You. For You will answer me.'(Psalm 86:7). This assurance should fill us with much confidence. We can also ask Jesus for wisdom and understanding during troubling times to show us what we need to learn from these experiences. Because whether we like it or not, the bad times teach us valuable life lessons.
How to ask
We can come to God at any time for whatever reason. We can cry out to Him for help. We can pray to Him when all else fails. We can talk to Him and ask Him all the whys? Yet, there is a right way to come God, and it is with a repentant heart and humble attitude. Repentant means to turn away. We need to be prepared to go in a different direction than what we desire and turn away from doing things, which are sinful. The Bible states, ‘behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God. And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear’ (Isaiah 59:1-2).
In John 14:6, Jesus also says, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’. Jesus is the way to God. We first need to ask Jesus for forgiveness of sins as this is the best way to come God. Since creation, we were supposed be in constant communion with God and wholly dependent on Him. Yet, when Adam and Eve sinned, this caused our communion and relationship with God to be broken.
Why it matters
Sin separates us from God because He is holy and sinless – meaning God cannot look on sin. God’s love for mankind is beyond our understanding, and He wants us to have a relationship with Him. There is a need to have our sin removed and to be reconciled with God for us to have a true relationship with Him.
The only way to have a relationship with God is through Jesus Christ who died on the cross to pay for our sins and rose again on the third day. Jesus’ death on the cross cleanses us of our sins – basically, he took our place. For us to accept this gift of salvation, we need to ask Jesus to forgive our sins and be willing to have a relationship with Him. ‘For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 6:23). Death is eternal separation from God, which is known as Hell, and Heaven is eternal life in Christ Jesus.
The good news is God loves us enough to provide a way out from Hell by sending His son Jesus into the world to save us from our sins. We just need to be willing to turn to God during times of trouble, which is the best place to start.