In the beginning

So it has started. South Africa is experiencing the first day of lockdown. I have mixed feelings.

– of relief that we are taking action to try to slow the curve and give people a chance to find a way to conquer this creeping darkness.

– of sadness as I think of all those families who are being kept apart and all those who are so worried about their jobs, incomes, future.

– of uncertainty as I face the next three weeks alone. We have been asked not even to walk in the streets. Total lockdown.

– of gratitude for all those in the medical world who are working so very hard, going the extra mile, to save lives. Every single person who is putting their own life on the line to respond to the need

– of thanks for those people who are going about their ordinary days, even now, to keep the essential services going, people like municipal workers, shop assistants, bankers, the young man who has started a shopping service in my area, also putting their lives at risk.

It is completely quiet.

And in the silence, the sun creeps round and floods my study with light. Four starlings sit on the roof across the road for a moment, chattering, breaking the silence, living their lives as normal.

Where does one go in a time like this? A time none of us have lived before. Since I was a little girl, no one has ever said to me, ‘stay inside; do not walk in the street’. Yet that is what I have to do now. To whom do you turn?

And as I read the Scriptures for today, they came together, as if God was whispering in the silence:

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matt 6:6) And … God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19). Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight (Prov 3:5-6)

And so I declare, in response to these, with the final Scripture, also part of my devotions today:

Unless the Lord had given me help I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said ‘My foot is slipping,’ Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy. (Ps 94:17)

God Himself gave me the answers I sought. I don’t understand why this is happening. and yet His peace flooded through me. Yes, three weeks may stretch ahead. Yes, some days may be hard and sad and lonely. But God, my God, your God, is here with each one of us and when we call on Him He hears and responds.

May you know the peace of God, wherever you are at this time and may He keep you safe. He is the bright Morning Star, the light in the darkness. Praise His Holy Name.

About Mandy Hackland

My love in life is to encourage others to deepen their relationship with God. I write devotional material, stories and small group studies with that in mind. I live in South Africa and also love spending time in the bush, bird watching and walking. I have moved to the coast and am enjoying the green spaces and beautiful vistas that surround me, reminding me of God's grace every day.
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