You will have heard it said many times in these past couple of years: “these are unprecedented times.” But I cannot help but wonder, is this really the case?
While it is true that in recorded history there probably has never been a global pandemic of this scale, duration and widespread impact, the events happening across our world may prompt many of us take a close look at what scripture says about pain and suffering. There are Biblical references to many kinds of pain – wars, pestilence, grief and loss – but also of a global Church that continues to grow throughout these trials.
There are still hearts, minds and bodies that need to experience the redemptive power of Jesus.
And so, we are reminded of Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 9:37-38:
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Jesus spoke about these things 2000 years ago. There can be no doubt that the harvest is even more ‘ripe’ today, amid the state of today’s world. The world still needs the truth of the gospel and the kind of love that takes action. We‘ve received numerous questions from our supporters about how we can go and love the world in these times. Should we go? Should we pull back? Should we take a calculated risk, or should we do what many would see as the ‘reasonable’ option and stay put? These are good questions which challenge us to seek God’s direction.
So, how then shall we live? And what does mission look like in these times?
I’d like to offer the suggestion that our notion of risk and safety needs to be measured and evaluated according to Jesus’ word.
Jesus himself spoke to his disciples about risks to body and life (Matthew 10). Yet he encouraged them, saying: “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” He also told them, for their encouragement: “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”
We know the needs are great everywhere – in Australia, in Asia and in the Arab world. So, therefore, like it says in Hebrews 12, may we run this race with perseverance, putting aside everything that hinders. May we join with the large cloud of witnesses who went before us and continue to share the hope of Jesus’ restoration and redemption. This is the hope we ourselves hold onto.