(The prophet Isaiah wrote in Chapter 64, Verse 6: From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for Him. You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways.)

As the church’s year ends and another year begins, the messengers of God keep our attention focused on the providence of God throughout creation and up to the present time. Thus, giving hope to the hearers that God will not abandon us. The prophet Isaiah addressed a community of people who seemed to be experiencing great difficulties. On every hand they found themselves in distress. The enemy created havoc among the people, which caused all kinds of difficulties for them. Casually reading this account, one would think the prophet is addressing the situation with which we are faced at this present time. This goes to show that humanity by nature has always gotten into situations or found themselves into situations that are more than we can contend with, and the need to be rescued from the power of the enemy.

If we doubt our need for someone greater than our collective selves to come to our rescue from the present circumstances, then we only have to listen to the psalmist as he penned in Psalm 80, Verses 2-3, “Stir up your strength and come to help us. Restore us, O Lord of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.’ This lament was repeated three times throughout the psalm each time with greater intensity. The first lament appeals to God alone, the second lament appeals to God of Hosts, the commander of the armies of heaven, and in the third lament the psalmist got personal in the plea by calling God by that sacred name Yahweh.

Why was the lament made and reiterated three times? Things had gotten increasingly worse for the people, just like things are getting increasingly worse in some corners of the earth, God’s vineyard. Yes, COVID-19 is on the rise and deaths are also on the rise. The British Virgin Islands has fought a Herculean battle keeping the pandemic out. And so far, is winning the battle. The U.S. Virgin Islands, on the other hand, did not close the borders and COVID-19 is on the rise again if the statistics in The Daily News are correct. This means that the inhabitants of these islands both with and without COVID-19 must listen to the voices of wisdom and reason as we chart our course through this pandemic.

The hope, we have for survival during these times, comes from the word of God and the instruction on protecting ourselves and others. If we listen to the voices of wisdom and reason, we will have hope as we face the present time. God did not leave us to face this time alone. God has given knowledge to human beings so that we are not lacking in knowledge as we wait the eradication of COVID-19. Presently we are hearing of a remedy for the pandemic. While it may not come right away or as soon as we would like, the fact that we have endured nine months of hardships and have survived, is an indication that we have what it takes to endure to the end. We do not know the exact day or hour when the remedy will come, but we know that it is coming; therefore, we must be prepared. We must allow the word of God to sustain us as we as we await the remedies coming.

There is no place in history where we can find comfort to sustain us in times like these, other than the word of God. One reason being, there is nothing in the human family that has not happened in previous times that God did not come to the rescue in one way or the other. God sent messengers with a word to comfort the disquieted and give them strength to endure to the end.

Beginning this week and for the next three weeks the church prepares for the celebration of the coming of the Prince of Peace. It is also a time under the present circumstances for the church to prepare itself for the work of ministry when this pandemic is over. This is also preparation time for new avenues of ministry that the church must engage in as she seeks to address the human hurts and hopes that are prevalent and persistent in our communities. God is about to bring a breakthrough for the people. We who believe that God is able to accomplish miracles through mere mortal must be in the forefront telling the story and making the miracle happen.

May we all use this time to meditate on the promises made by God through the messengers of God about the breaking in of a new day, so that we may wait with eager anticipation! We wait knowing that God does not disappoint us. We wait knowing that those who wait upon the Lord shall find their strength renewed and they will climb above all the obstacles that are around us. Therefore, we keep hope alive as we remain awake! “And what I say to you I say to all: keep awake.

— The Right Rev. Edward Ambrose Gumbs is the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of the Virgin Islands, which encompasses the Episcopal churches on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John and the Anglican churches in Tortola and Virgin Gorda.