Written by Canon Nigel Mason - Rector of Rotherfield with Mark Cross
I do sympathise with those leaders who are trying to make good and wise decisions during the pandemic. How difficult it must be to steer the best path through the array of data and at the same time try to balance the pressures of the economy and the health of those most at risk.
We have seen within the UK how the various leaders of the 4 nations have tried to make decisions; made even more difficult, as within the scientific and medical communities there is conflicting advice. As I write, there has been a further delay in the lifting of restrictions as updates from ongoing surveys suggest a rise in reported infections. No doubt, by the time this goes to print the situation will have changed.
During this lockdown, various decisions have been made, not just by those in government and industry, but many of us have reflected on our lives and reconsidered our priorities in life. The pandemic effectively stopped us in our tracks and made us face up to some important life choices. For example, many of the restrictions on meeting with family members have made us realise how important it is for us to be with them. Several, I know of within our community have made the decision to move to be nearer their family. While others have decided they would prefer to be in a more rural or coastal setting. Many have a desire to enjoy nature and a greater space. We just need to look at the rise in house sales in various parts of the country.
Of course, many holidays, baptisms and weddings were cancelled and those who have planned for this year still have an anxious wait.
In such times it can be difficult to know what to do and we can only hope that we are able to do what we plan. A phrase I hear less frequently is "God willing" meaning "If God allows this to be so," and in some ways this is the way for those who look to a higher authority and seek guidance and blessing. It comes with a level of humility and a recognition of our own frailty, but it provides the hope that God has care and concern for the decisions we face. A verse from the Old Testament sums up this outlook as we are encouraged to:
“Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.”
A definition of faith I once heard was this is: “Faith is taking God at his word and believing him to keep his promises.”
Sometimes it is faith in the goodness and love of God that keeps us going, particularly at difficult and uncertain times. As we hear in the Bible “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”