Thought for the Week - 19th April

Vanda Hopkin

John 21: 7

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea’

In John we read that Jesus appeared to His disciples after He was crucified and risen again.   At this time His followers would have been in a terrible state of distress at the loss of their friend and Saviour. On the third occasion Jesus appeared, several of His disciples were fishing on the sea of Galilee when Jesus appeared on the shore. The disciples could not see who He was. Jesus called out to them to throw their net out on the right side as they had not yet caught any fish, so they did and caught more than they could haul.   It is at that point we read that when Simon Peter heard ‘’It is the Lord’’ he jumped into the sea and swam to Him. On the beach Simon Peter, joined by the other disciples, shared in the breakfast that Jesus provided them.   Today we find ourselves in unprecedented times, we are in the fourth week of lockdown and everyone of us has been affected by it in different ways. There is a great deal of uncertainty for us all, a lot has changed, and much has been disrupted. The nation, including us as Christians are looking for answers, looking to government for answers about the virus and lockdown, how long it will be before things return to normal, how they will, or even if they will. The government is working hard behind the scenes to keep things going, but they can’t provide us with the answers we are looking for, they simply do not have them.   In these days the turn of things even seems to go against what the bible says.   We read in Genesis that God says it is not good for man to be alone, yet we find ourselves feeling alone and cut off from the rest of the world. We read in Hebrews 10:25 that we should not give up meeting together, yet we are not able to attend the church to meet.   We are all different, with different personalities and different ways of coping and adapting. We may also find ourselves in different places spiritually through all of this. Some will find themselves in a deepening spiritual place, coming into their own, while others will be struggling. Some will be feeling as though the heavens were completely cut off to them. Some struggling financially or practically, some missing the fellowship, nurturing and strength of the church, the strength that comes from God through one another as we meet in Fellowship for Him. A cloud may have come over you, doubts, fears, anxieties creeping in from all sorts of places. Past feelings may be rising up in a way that you have not felt for a long time. You may be looking at social media thinking everyone else seems to be coping well but you are not. This is not true. The enemy will use this time to divide and accuse, but these are lies and deceptive tactics of the enemy.   Be encouraged today, you are not on your own, we as a church are praying. God is with us, He is in this with us, He is holding our hands. However you are feeling today, know that God has not abandoned you. No matter how weak and fragile you feel, God is looking on you with love saying, come My child.   ’’If you look at the world you’ll be distressed, if you look within, you’ll be depressed, if you look to God, you’ll be at rest.’’ (Corrie ten Boom)   We can’t look to the world for help, it is only God that can. We can’t look within for answers, we have none, and we cannot rescue ourselves. Jesus paid the price for our weaknesses; He has taken them. We don’t have to be strong, as He is our strength.   ‘’It is the Lord’’… It is the Lord who’s come to rescue us, it is God who is there for us, who provides for us.   Oh restless soul, mind in turmoil, He says, come unto me My child and I will give you rest, My arms are open wide, come close and feel My heart beating for you. If you are feeling rebellious today, asking, why am I in this situation? Why is this happening? He says, My child, you don’t need to understand, I know the outcome, I know the times, these times I hold in My hands. Come unto Me My child and I will give you rest.   Amen.
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