Let's hit the 'reset button' and surrender the pandemic's worries to Christ again

Moved by the tragic COVID death of the mother of Sydney’s removalist twins, Baptist pastor David O’Connor urges his fellow Christians to hit the ‘reset button’ and surrender the pandemic’s worries to Christ again.

Does anybody remember when we were all in this together? Meeting the challenge of the pandemic, I mean.

It seems like the gloss of all that goodwill has slowly but surely worn off, and we’ve resorted to arguing with (or at) anybody who does or doesn’t follow the rules, got the jab, or lives in the wrong local government area.

I pastor a local church in Sydney’s northwest and have had to tip-toe my way through the past 18 months as the issues surrounding the coronavirus have become increasingly personal, complex and divisive within our neighbourhoods and communities. I’ve sought to example and encourage the church I serve to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, love one another well, and look beyond ourselves as we walk through this chapter of our lives. Those things are all much easier said than done.

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard not to be stirred up by personal impacts, press conferences, predictions, changing health advice, social media, headlines, case numbers, variants etc. But the writer of Hebrews says we should – among a string of wonderful encouragements in Hebrews 10 – “consider how to stir one another to love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

Can we, right now, show the humility to hit the proverbial reset button and surrender our souls afresh to Jesus? The same Jesus who was asleep on the boat during the storm while his followers were in a frenzy (Matthew 8:23-27). The same Jesus who is before all things, in all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).

I think this reset button of surrender to Christ results in wonderful things happening in us and through us. Some of those might be:
– Praying for our politicians to have wisdom and open hearts toward God
– Being less anxious and more assured
– Reflecting and declaring the Gospel to the world more effectively
– Remembering that our lives are graced to withstand wind and waves
– Seeing that people need Jesus and matter to him

How were you stirred (or perhaps not stirred) by Monday’s tragic passing of the mother of Sydney’s removalist twins? I encourage you to take the time to reflect prayerfully on your own attitudes or ambivalence to that news. Surrender humbly to Christ and pray the words of King David in Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Finally, I encourage you to commit to praying for the Shawka family and all of the people who live in Sydney’s southwest for the next 14 days. Nothing changes and conforms our hearts to the Lord as prayer does. That family and the people within those communities are grieving and struggling right now. Our faith, hope and love ought to extend towards them.

Editor’s note: The family’s name was widespread across all major media by the time this piece was written. For this reason, we have left the name in. John Sandeman