Who would have thought that toilet roll would have become one of the most sought-after items in our country? And not just in our country, but it’s also been reported that there is a shortage in America, Australia and Spain as well! I really don’t get it. The coronavirus does not bring with it symptoms that require lots of this.
But the more I think about it, the more I see how the uncertainty and fear-mongering that is gripping our nation at the moment is causing anxiety and panic. If you’ve been on Twitter recently, you will have seen how it has gone into meltdown with everyone having a different opinion on whether we should close schools, go into lock down, test everyone. And there is a lot of unrest, doom and gloom and feelings of helplessness – not knowing when it will end or if I or my loved ones will be ok. When we feel helpless, we often try and do things to make us feel more secure and in control, and that is why I think people are stockpiling food and toilet rolls – it’s all they can have control over and they have gone mad with it!
In the midst of all the fear, uncertainty and panic, I want to encourage us to approach this time of national and global crisis in the same way that Jesus would. In Matthew chapter 9, verses 35-36 we catch up with Jesus as he is meeting with lots of people. He spent time with them – teaching them, telling them the good news and performing miracles. But during this time, what stands out is his motivation for doing all of this. We’re told:
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:35-56
I love this! Yes, Jesus prioritised people and told them of another way of life where there is peace, hope, forgiveness and a fresh start. A life where you are not alone, but journey each step of the way with God. That is awesome, as are his miracles – he healed the sick – wow! But what I love is that it was all done from a heart of compassion. He was genuinely moved by the plight of the people he came into contact with – whether they were sick, stressed, had messed up or whatever else it was. His heart went out to them and he recognized they were harassed and helpless.
Harassed and helpless would be two words that we could use to describe how many millions of people are feeling around the world in the midst of this crisis. I want to encourage us to pray and firstly press into God ourselves and receive his love, his peace and the strength of his Holy Spirit. But alongside that, to ask God to give us a heart of compassion for those around us who are feeling harassed and helpless.
Too many people are being selfish and stocking piling and thinking about themselves. How can we be a help, a blessing and share something of the love and truth of Jesus through our actions and words?
An organisation called #viralkindness have produced a card to post through the doors of those people we know who are vulnerable, self-isolating or on their own.
What a simple and easy way to connect with those around us who we may already know or not yet know – and offer kindness, help and the love of Jesus. Perhaps you could download the card or pick some up from the church office and use this time of fear and anxiety to be a blessing and be Jesus to those who are harassed and helpless.
Monday 17th March 2020