Where are Your Eyes?
We typically share in these monthly emails about what is happening “over here” in Asia. In this new era of COVID-19, however, there is no over here and over there. We are all in the same little boat, drifting and dazed in the same unknown and un-navigated current. For some, the virus is inconvenient, but for many others, it is painful, even perilous.
In the developing nations across Asia where we work, COVID-19 is placing severe strain on people whose lives are tenuous even in normal circumstances. Many of the people we usually teach, including church leaders, earn a living as day laborers, small shopkeepers, or seasonal farmers. For them, quarantines and lockdowns mean that work is scarce and they may not eat. Those living in cramped communities are unable to practice social distancing. Medical care is substandard. One of our partner churches in Nepal has identified 100 families in their community who are now unable to feed themselves. In the Philippines, a powerful typhoon in mid-May displaced tens of thousands of people. They now face the double threat of homelessness and the virus.
COVID-19 exposes our longing for certainty and security. We would all like to know when this will end, when a vaccine will be available, when borders will re-open, and when we can get back to training church leaders. But the virus is a forceful reminder that the Gospel is for just such painful times as these, that temporal certainty and security are not promises God makes to us, and that we are called to love our suffering neighbors, not just hunker down and take care of our own.
The verses above were part of King Jehoshaphat’s prayer of desperation when a terrifying army threatened to invade Judah. He was afraid. He was at a complete loss about what to do. So he did the only thing he could do: he looked to the One who is in control, who is not taken by surprise, who brings good out of evil. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” May that be true for you. May our eyes be on God. May we look to Him not only with our own needs, fears, and questions; may we also look to Him on behalf of our brothers and sisters in far more dire circumstances than our own.