We are currently living in a time of uncertainty, a time where doubt clouds our every move. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking over the lockdown period and, there are a few certainties that I have for as and when we get back to some kind of normality.
1. I’m certain that I’ll never again be cajoled into cutting someone else’s hair, no matter how much it’s irritating them.
2. I’m certain that the garden furniture purchased especially for our ‘2020 summer holiday in the garden’, WILL be used again.
3. I’m certain that the holey socks and T shirt that I was able to wear during lockdown because nobody could get close enough to see the holes, WILL go in the bin.
4. I’m certain that all my food shopping will only be done, forevermore, ONLINE.
5. I’m certain that my National Trust membership card will be maxed out to the limit and that I WILL get triple my monies worth out of it.
However, like many of you, there are many things that I’m not certain about at the moment. As of today, I’m not certain when this virus is going to come to an end or if a suitable vaccine will ever be found. I’m not certain how many more precious lives will be lost or if our National Health Service will be overwhelmed by another spike in Coronavirus cases. I’m not certain when our churches will reopen for services or if social distancing will become a permanent fixture. On a personal level, I’m not certain when I’ll be able to hold my beautiful grandson who was born several weeks ago and, up to now, have only seen through a patio window and in a photograph. I’m not certain when I’ll next be able to sit in the same room as my ‘vulnerable’ mom and have a cup of tea with her. And, like you I’m sure, I could go on listing the many, many, uncertainties that we face at this time.
The certainty is, is that life is uncertain at the moment. The good news is, is that we have a God who can deal with our uncertainties. With God the impossible becomes possible and uncertainties melt away. God has given us the most powerful weapon that we can use in uncertain times and that weapon is Prayer. We read in the bible in the book of James 5:16-17 ‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced it’s crop’.
During the lockdown we’ve celebrated VE day (Victory in Europe) and it was an ideal day weather wise, for a socially distanced street party. We had a time together in our road with neighbours and all the residents turned out in the evening for a rousing rendition of ‘We’ll meet again’. It was quite a celebration but, if you’ve ever watched the film the ‘Darkest Hour’, you’ll realise just how close our country came to surrendering and brokering a deal with Hitler. And what was it that prevented this catastrophic event from happening? I believe, as do many, that it was the power of prayer. Accounts of people who went through this terrible crisis describe the conditions that they were living in, where normal life was disturbed and everything was black, where they constantly listened for air raid warnings and the children carried gas masks to school. Where food and clothing were in short supply and they had to queue for everything that they needed.
On May 24th 1940, as the situation for our soldiers became desperate, King George 6th called for a National Day of prayer. As our troops were marooned at Dunkirk with no hope of survival, millions went to pray. The queues outside Westminster Abbey were replicated in every church across the land. The King urged the nation to turn back to God in a spirit of repentance and pray for Divine help, and the people did just that. The people prayed and God responded. A storm arose over Dunkirk that was so rough it grounded the Luftwaffe who were killing the British soldiers. Then a great calm settled over the channel, which allowed all the little boats to rescue over 335,000 soldiers.
If you take time to research you will see there were many days of prayer called during the Second World War and the response from the general public was overwhelming. Needless to say, many other miracles were witnessed as a result of the contrite prayers of the masses.
We can be absolutely sure, in the uncertain times we now face, that when we go humbly to God in fervent prayer and commit it in faith to him, he will always answer us.
In the words of Billy Sunday, an Evangelist in the Midwest in the 1880’s - ‘If you are a stranger to prayer, you are a stranger to the greatest source of power known to human beings’.