How is everyone doing? I wish I could give you all a hug! I really miss being with people!
We have now entered the fourth month of the COVID-19 lockdown in London. We are slowly beginning to see slight changes as restrictions are lifted. The fear of a second outbreak is occupying the minds of the government, health officials and the people. So, even with the ‘next normal’ that is beginning to emerge, there is still the urgent need for social distancing, hygiene consciousness and facial mask-wearing in order to help stop the spread of this virus.
The big news in England is that we have moved from the instruction ‘stay at home’ to ‘stay alert’. These instructions offered by the UK Government are imbedded in our mind and on our lips: ‘The most important thing we can do is to stay alert, control the virus, and in doing so, save lives.’ I find these words rather fascinating!
According to our scientists and health educators, if we embrace these two very powerful action words – stay alert – and put them into practice we will be champions in helping to eradicate this deadly virus. Automatically my response was ‘Yes, count me in!’ but then questions started swirling around in my mind: How does one stay alert to an invisible virus? How are we going to battle with something we can’t see? What other tools and habits can I acquire to help me be more intentional in this goal to stay alert? As I usually do when faced with a challenge, I quietly whispered, ‘Lord, help me!’. Now, when you say this prayer, you’d better be ready for his response because he is definitely the God of surprises!
While I was focusing on this thought God was pointing out areas of my life where I desperately needed to stay alert. While I have been in lockdown mode, with my emotions and thoughts all over the place, it has been easy to let things that would normally receive my full focus drift away. God gave me a wake-up call! I am grateful for these days of probing and pruning, so that I am able to emerge from these God moments energised by the Spirit to be strong, courageous and ready. God is preparing me for the invisible battles of life, for those struggles that come unexpectantly.
One of the privileges of the ‘stay alert’ edict is that we are now able to enjoy exercise more than once a day as long as we observe social distancing rules. I love to walk outdoors and it has been a great opportunity to get to know my neighbourhood better. In recent weeks, because of not paying attention to the uneven concrete blocks on the sidewalk, I have had two major falls. Let me be clear these falls were not hook-your-toe-and-steady-yourself trips, they were full on face-meets-ground encounters. I am thankful to God that the only thing I really hurt was my pride! But the timeless and crucial lesson came easily: keep your eyes open, stay alert, watch where you place your feet and you will not be hurt.
The walk of life can be very challenging and we are prone to fall sometimes. We will come across uneven, bumpy and impossible obstacles, but we never give up! This can-do attitude reminds me of this Carrie Bradshaw quote, ‘When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep walking.’
We place our lives in the hands of the Almighty and with our eyes focused on him we carefully place our feet on safe ground as we move forward. These words of Scripture have given me renewed courage as I strive to stay alert in all areas of my life! I pray them over you today:
'Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does (1 Peter 5:8-11 MSG).'
God bless you!
Commissioner Rosalie Peddle
World President of Women's Ministries