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Finding comfort during a season of despair
Church in the Bay - Media Release in the Herald: 16 November 2020
I clearly remember a song we sang in Sunday school about the wise man building his house upon the rock and the foolish man building upon the sand and the crisis that revealed their strength or lack thereof (Matthew 7:24-27). Back to News Index
It also reminded me of my childhood friend and neighbour who once said, “a crisis does not make a person; it only reveals the person.”
Both of these sayings are no truer today than they were years ago when I first heard them.
Lately, over the course of this pandemic and its consequences, I have seen some people whom I thought had strong foundations crumble and be exposed.
Marriages and families that looked solid. Leaders who oozed confidence and charisma. Individuals who professed a strong faith and organisations that seemed sound.
Some of these just buckled under the pressure and either faltered or were compromised.
This came as quite a shock to me because their profession of faith was quite strong before the crisis and led me to question the foundations upon which we are building both as individuals and a community.
As a community we find ourselves confronted by crisis after crisis and some of our foundations are being exposed as not being strong enough to sustain us through the storms.
We have to ask ourselves if we are building on the proper foundations because things will not get any better in the future.
The foundations of finances, success, perceived social media popularity, perceived job security, government, political and industry leaders, reliance on people or even self, have all proven to be sinking sand especially in the last seven months of this pandemic.
By no means do I want to be a prophet of doom, but there are more crises awaiting us in the future.
The aftermath of this pandemic will only be truly felt in the coming years and we need to be prepared by learning from what has and has not worked during this current crisis.
We are setting ourselves up for failure if we continue to build upon the foundations that have failed us in this time e.g. debt, easy credit, procrastination, selfishness, shallow family and personal relationships to name a few.
From a Christian point of view, if our faith has been built upon a spiritual leader/s or church attendance and church involvement and not on having a personal relationship with the Lord, then we are in for a rude awakening.
Matthew 7 clearly encourages us to live and apply sound and Godly principles in our daily lives.
Building our lives on godly principles not only creates a solid foundation for families, marriages, relationships and individual lives but also assures our victory overcoming storms in the future.
Personally, I have gone through more crises in this lockdown than the last 10 years combined.
They range from work challenges to family challenges to health challenges and even as I write this article, I find myself in a very trying challenge.
It is only my personal faith in God and the Bible that strengthens me to joyfully endure these trials.
There is a verse that has proven to be a bedrock for me in this time of constant trial, Psalm 119:50: “This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.”
These words have proven to be a constant source of hope and inspiration in my times of despair and disappointment.
My prayer for us as a community is that we will build our lives and families wisely on solid rock foundations using the difficult and valuable lessons that this pandemic has not only taught us but also revealed to us.
Pastor Russell Viljoen
Ebenezer North Community Church
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