Where have all the people gone?
Where have all the people gone?! Definitely not to central London!
The reality is that COVID-19 is now a pandemic. The world is in a mode of crisis and lockdown. People have woken up to the threat of this monstrous virus on themselves, the precious lives of loved ones and their neighbours.
In obedience of the edict issued by government and health officials, people are remaining at home. The ‘new normal’ for the residents of London is to work from home, eat at home and do life like never before. These are unprecedented days! The streets of London are empty!
Overwhelmed by the happenings of these past weeks and in trying to accept the prospect of not being engaged in my normal way of life for the foreseeable future, I decided to go for a walk. I reflected on my circumstances and sought God’s wisdom and guidance in how best I can serve him in these challenging days of leadership.
As I turned from my street on to the South Bank of the River Thames, I was suddenly faced with the full impact that this devastating coronavirus is already having on the beautiful historical city of London. Streets that were constantly bustling with crowds of tourists, office workers, vendors and school groups were empty! In the six years that I have been living here, I had never witnessed this phenomenon! It broke my heart.
As I stood there in a state of shock, I suddenly experienced a heart-rending loneliness that was unexplainable. I can only describe this experience as being caught in the middle of a storm in the ocean, hit by wave after crashing wave.
I felt a deep loneliness because I had come face to face with the severe consequences of fear of the coronavirus in tandem with a full understanding of what social distancing was going to mean. This challenged me! I thrive on being with and around people. I survive by being with and around people. Where had all the people gone?! I confess that some days on my journey home from International Headquarters, I’d get a little annoyed because there were so many people on the streets and I’d have difficultly meandering my way through the crowds. Today I wanted these people back!
I felt an overwhelming need for my family. In this moment of loneliness, I experienced an urgent need to be with my family. I knew in reality that this was impossible, especially with one daughter living in Australia and the other living in Canada. On top of not being able to be in two places at once, there was the shutdown of international travel as borders were closing rapidly. But I so wanted to give my two daughters, their husbands and my five grandchildren hugs, and tell them how much they mean to me, tell them how much I love them and that everything is going to be alright.
I felt an overwhelming need for God. I needed him in this moment more than ever! I needed to feel his presence. I needed to feel his embrace to assure me that he still had the whole world in his hands. I needed assurance that his word was still true – that his resurrection power still transforms lives with healing and wholeness. I needed to see his light shining above, underneath and beyond the deep darkness that was slowly enveloping my beautiful world. It was in the throes of this overwhelming loneliness that my heart, my mind, every fibre of my being, was crying out, ‘My God, where are you?’
At that very moment, my ears became attuned to the words of the song coming through my earphones! God was speaking to me clearly and profoundly and his answer was life-changing. It brought me a spirit of confidence and trust in a God who never fails, a God who continues to make the impossible situation possible, a God who promises truth, a God who never leaves or forsakes his people.
‘Trust in You’ by Lauren Daigle will forever be imprinted on my heart because of this moment. It became a significant part of God’s defining message for me. I keep playing this song over and over during these challenging days:
‘When you don’t move the mountains
I’m needing you to move
When you don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When you don’t give the answers
As I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you!’
I can sing these powerful words because I serve a powerful God! Even though I cannot see the way ahead, God sees it. These times are in his hands and I am filled with courage and confidence that he will lead us through these dark and challenging moments to even better days ahead.
So, keep safe! Stay well! Engage in social distancing. Find creative ways to engage in Christ’s mission in this broken world. Spend time with your family. Spend time with God and experience the rest that only he can give (Matthew 11:28-30).Real Talk