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Passive lifesaving... active lifesaving

By Martin Peters, 28 Mar 2020

Passive lifesaving... active lifesaving

This may be a familiar saying to you: 'People say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.' I’m pretty sure we’re all feeling that right now. The advice is simple – stay at home and save lives. Yet passive lifesaving doesn’t feel heroic, it feels full of disappointment. It hurts.

A people now scattered

On Sunday, we met with our church family in our front room. It was fantastic to see our church family bringing God’s word to us through preaching, prayer and music. Yet at the same time, it hurt. For every person we saw on our screen, there were ten more of our church family isolated in their homes. And we couldn’t see them. We couldn’t chat to them. We couldn’t give them a hug or a handshake.

We weren’t with our church family and, as encouraging and helpful that it was, it felt very lonely. In truth, we’ve always known how great our church family is from the day we moved back to Morecambe. Yet we never thought we’d ‘lose’ them so quickly and so suddenly.

It hurts to feel so far from the people we love, especially when we still live so close. Any amount of technology simply doesn’t make up for that. Yet during this time of sorrow, I’m reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians – we should be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”  (2 Corinthians 6:10 NIV 1984) .

We have so much to be thankful for in the gospel. We may feel pretty helpless in battling the Coronavirus, yet as Gerry shared with us on Sunday, we’re even more helpless when it comes to our sin. Our only hope in life and death is Jesus. Therefore, we have much to be thankful for as a church family. Can I suggest listening to this new song by the Getty’s to encourage you all? Christ Our Hope in Life and Death

Hard work rather than rest

For those of you who have Children, you’ll know that a holiday doesn’t always mean rest. Often it’s hard work and you end the holiday feeling like you need another one! Well, the Peters family were supposed to be joining two other households at Word Alive before Easter. It’s a great week away where we get to have a family holiday combined with Bible teaching, as well as joining more than 4,000 people in a big tent to sing praises to our Heavenly Father. That really is a highlight as we get a taste of our future, secured in Jesus, singing with the multitudes: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13 NIV 1984).

Yet this year we won’t be doing that. It’s hugely disappointing, not just for our family, but for many others who were planning to go away in the next few weeks and months.

I’m currently combining homeworking with a new role of ‘Daddy Daycare’. I’m looking after my two daughters to enable Claire, an NHS healthcare worker, to continue going to work. It’s already exhausting - trying to balance full time work with full time childcare. At a time when we could all really do with a break, it’s immensely disappointing that our holiday has had to be cancelled. Or at least postponed for now!

Yet I know this is just a season. It isn’t forever. I know that God really has got this. It’s in His control, not mine. So, I look forward to a time when we can resume holidays. Even more eagerly, I look beyond that to a time when we will enjoy eternal rest, united with Christ who has redeemed us, and be singing a new song before His throne (Revelation 14:1-5).

Distanced from the ones we love

There are so many aspects of our life that are having to change now. The girls are already fed up of washing their hands and staying at home. When we watched the news conference the other day Gabby put it quite simply – 'I don’t want to stay at home!' Play dates, birthday parties, weddings. They’re all on hold, and that’s tough. But just seeing our loved ones isn’t an option right now. The picture shows Gabby taking some ‘essential’ film-watching supplies to her friend in isolation.

We can try and look at the bigger picture, that we’re saving lives. It’s important, but that’s hard to see. It’s so intangible. Yet what is tangible is the huge sense of disappointment at not being near the ones we love. 

Whilst many of us, our friends and family are self-isolating, that doesn’t mean we have to be inward looking. The Bible commands us to love others, to be a living sacrifice. Let’s use our time wisely – to immerse ourselves in God’s word, read good books, and to pray. Yes, let’s do that, but let’s also be outward-looking.

  • How can you be generous to those around you?
  • Who needs your help right now?
  • Who needs to hear about the help only Jesus can offer?

Whilst we’re being passive lifesavers in the coronavirus crisis, let’s be active lifesavers in the gospel crisis! Jesus has the power to save and He really cares. So, I shall leave you with this prayer in the words of Paul the Apostle:
‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.’ (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV 1984).

Let’s praise our God who comforts us in our troubles and let’s share our joy in Christ with those who need to hear it.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.