Our eyes look to the Lord our God, until God show us God’s mercy. Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy for we have had more than enough. Psalm 123: 3 & 4

For the past several months we had been following the journey of God’s people from slavery to freedom in the place of their promised inheritance. It was a journey that took them through many trials and temptations. At no time did God fail to provide assistance for their needs. Even when they forgot God’s providence, God did not forget His love and favor for them.

After living in their new land and enjoying the blessing God provided there, the people forgot about the providence of God and found themselves in difficulties again. God being always benevolent to his faithful remnant sent a woman, Deborah to reason for the people and grant them justice. In spite of the challenges they may have brought on themselves due to their disobedience, God heard their cries and came to their rescue.

As we face the challenges of this present age, we too need to call upon God. The Psalmist recognized the need when he penned, ‘Our eyes look to the Lord our God until God shows us mercy’. Therein rests the people’s recognition that they had transgressed the ways of the Lord. Therein remains our own recognition that we too have transgressed the ways of the Lord and not we alone but the whole world. If we sing, God’s got the whole world in God’s hand, then, we have to pray for healing for the whole world. It would not serve the common good for us to pray for ourselves alone.

Presently, Covid19 is on the rise in many nations across the globe. We in these islands must be cautious as we enter some of the reopening phases. Many are anxious to return to the things the way they knew it. But that approach may not be the best way to return in the midst of this rising pandemic. We have to err on the side of caution. We cannot afford a resurgence in these islands as we may not have the hospital capacity to accommodate a significant increase. In times like these we have to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and the voices of all those whom the Good Shepherd instructed with knowledge and wisdom to guide us through these times.

Joshua who rose to become another great leader of Israel through faithful obedience to God before his departure, reminded the people that they had to follow a certain way of life in order to enjoy the blessing of peace. So that in the midst of whatever calamity may befall, if they knew the God who had kept company with them all this time, they can call on that God for relief. They can turn their eyes to the Lord until The Lord shows them mercy.

Our times can easily be compared to the times of the early Church when people wanted quick answers in reference to the end time and the coming of the Lord. St. Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1, tells us not to be overly concerned about such a time. He said, “Concerning times and seasons, you do not need to have anything written to you.” My dear people, have we given any thought to this saying? It would seem to suggest that each day we are alive is preparation time. However young or old we are, we have enough time to make ourselves ready for life’s challenge.

St. Paul also talked about children of the light and children of the day. The knowledge of God’s will for the life of the people sets them apart from those who would be walking in darkness.

For example, if we know the layout of our homes we can walk around day or night with a certain surety of our surroundings. So also, if we know the will of God for our lives through the study of God’s word and its applicability for the good of our lives, we will always walk in light as children of the light. Whether it is morning, noon or night the LIGHT of the world will be with us. In the 1982 Hymnal #490 a portion of the hymn gives this analogy:

I want to walk as a child of the light, I want to follow Jesus

God sent the stars to give light to the world, The star of my life is Jesus.

In Him, there is no darkness at all

The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God

Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus

Brethren, let us not walk in darkness, but as children of the light, always be prepared. Therefore, it behooves us to clothe ourselves with the knowledge of truth from the word of God and all the necessary resources human and divine with which God has surrounded us. This will enable us to be ready with the knowledge that we will always be sheltered and protected where no evil can harm us. And in the midst of life’s storms, we will have an anchor.

— The Rt. Rev. E. Ambrose Gumbs is the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of the Virgin Islands.