An opportune time to ask the most important question
V Atsi Dolie
Angami Baptist Church Council
In life, there is a bigger question than just mere existence. We have not come into existence just to exist. There is more to it than just living. We need to have meaning in and for our existence. If we care only how to combat COVID-19 pandemic for fear of being engulfed and potentially shortening our existence, then we could allow a very opportune time to just pass by without optimizing it. Yes, pandemic occurs at times, and history reveals its brutality. But a time such as this should prompt us to ask and answer the big question of life!!
Death will certainly come upon all of us if Christ does not return in our time. It is just a matter of now or later. And I do not think there is much significance in the sequence. So being able to prolong life is not the most important thing, nor the goal of life. We often pray for long life (I do too) but seldom ask for meaning and purpose of life. So, while the whole world is gripped with fear and overwhelmed by uncertainties, a revisit to the basic of Christian faith may provide strength and hope in this trying time.
Human being is wired by God to be relational. In its absence, meaning cannot exist. That is why religiosity or ritualism alone cannot bring about true fulfillment. Relationship implies and requires a PERSON to relate to. Christianity is not primarily a set of doctrines or creeds; it is a relationship with Jesus Christ. It centers in a person, and as Earle E. Cairns puts it, “the removal of Christ from Christianity would leave a lifeless, empty shell.”
Relationship gives meaning, affirms being loved and cared for, and sustains hope. It makes the affair personal. We value “personal” thing and put a high price on it. Job of the Old Testament would not like to curse God despite the pain, or sever his relationship with God because it was a very personal thing. No relief in sight, yet he held his relationship with God steadfastly because that acquaintance discharged meaning and hope for Job. Countless of Jesus’ followers treasured the same down the centuries. So, to snub personal relationship with Jesus as worthless would be to betray scores and scores of faithful believers. But for the Bystanders, Christian faith becomes foolishness, stumbling block (1 Cor. 1:23) or too simple to be true, and thus many people are not bothered to try out.
Coronavirus pandemic loudly proclaims the helplessness of human beings. Despite astronomical advancement in medical science and great leap in every aspect of human knowledge, the best of the world is wrestling for a solution day and night. Meanwhile, the whole world is shaken and anxiously waiting for a breaking news! All these remind us so clearly again that man is incapable of managing his own affairs. This frustrating inadequacy, however, should make us humble and turn to God’s sovereign providence.
For followers of Jesus Christ, it is our time to “be still” and exhibit our confidence in God. “What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with the Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms” - these words of Elisha A. Hoffman should be true for all of us! God is always on the throne and reigns supremely. He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1), and we have the privilege to run to Him.
Life will go on. After the tide of this pandemic subsides, the world will have something else to be concerned again. We are not meant to navigate our way out for survival only, but God intended a much bigger purpose that stays even in darkest times. He wants us to experience the abundant life which is offered in His Son Jesus Christ (Jn. 10:10). This pandemic is giving us a “thinking time” and my prayer is that we search and find the true meaning of life. A word to the searchers – PLEASE TRY JESUS! You will never regret. In fact, you will be anchored securely. And a word to the complacent ones – go deeper for a richer fulfilling life!