We hear that the first cohort of Cook Islanders who were stranded in New Zealand because of the coronavirus pandemic will be returning home today.
It is interesting how this news have received mixed responses from our people here – some with compassion, some with uncertainty and others with downright anger and vindictiveness.
Obviously we are sensitive to protecting the safety and security of our coronavirus-free country when most nations around the world are suffering the impact of this pandemic.
Fear of infection and death seem to be the driving force behind this expression of mixed emotions but while it is natural to be apprehensive about the situation, should we not take it as an opportunity to grow our faith in the God in whom most of us Cook Islanders believe?
If we were to spend more time consulting the Christian’s Manual of Instructions for Life (the Bible), we will find that it offers plenty of doable practical advice and solutions to every struggle and difficulty (big or small) we encounter in our lives.
The Prophet Jeremiah recorded the words that God gave him to speak: “Ask me and I will tell you some remarkable secrets about what is going to happen here.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NLT)
Is asking doable? Of course!
The Book of Psalms (91:2-3) says: “This I declare of the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting in him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the fatal plague.”
And it continues (5-7): “Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day, nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.”
Then it says (9-10): “If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plaque (or pestilence like the coronavirus) will come near your dwelling.”
And finally (14-16): “The LORD says, ‘I will rescue those who love me, I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honour them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation.’”
The Bible is very clear about this relationship between God and those who believe in him. We do our part and God will do his.
The highlights in the text are mine. Take note of what the scriptures say we ought to do: Ask God ... trust God ... don’t be afraid ... make the LORD your refuge ... call on God, and surprisingly, all of these are simple and doable.
Then observe what God promised he will do. Those promises ought to inspire us and motivate us to exercise faith rather than fear and put our trust in God.
Does trusting in God mean that we can do away with our medical profession? Of course not! God gifted doctors, nurses and health officials to look after our health in a very troubled and sinful world, which in the main, have turned away from him.
We need to applaud our Government and National Heath Emergency Taskforce, headed by Te Marae Ora, for what they are doing to safeguard our people from the coronavirus pandemic, including our returning family members and friends from New Zealand.
However, we also need to remind ourselves that we can only do what is humanly possible within the scope of our available resources and when we are stretched to the limit, know that there is a God in the Cook Islands that can protect us an provide for us.
Philippians 4:19 says: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Does that sound too difficult to believe?
The Bible says, ask God, trust him, do not waver, and don’t be afraid. He will hear and he will answer.
In these times of uncertainty I would encourage every Christian in Cook Islands to trust the word of God, the Bible, exercise faith in Jesus Christ and cry out to God for his help.
If you are doing it already, spend more time in earnest prayer, pray without ceasing.
Think about it, fear in any situation does not give us solutions but faith does.
God has already made it possible for us to have faith in him.
Jesus declared in the Gospel of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Faith in God can move a mountain. Enjoy your weekend and take the opportunity to join your family and friends in drawing near to God.