April 04, 2020

A New Thing by Susan Barclay

New life, from the ashes
This is certainly a very different spring than any we have experienced in our lifetimes. Don't you agree? Has there ever been a more apt moment to recall the words of Charles Dickens as he writes the opening to A Tale of Two Cities?:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Coronavirus, Covid-19, pandemic, plague. Call it what you want, it has certainly brought us to the threshold of a brand new world. I hesitate to call it brave, though there are certainly shining examples of bravery from our front-line workers, those who seek to bring health and wholeness to the sick, weak and vulnerable, those who are doing their part to maintain essential services, and those who are being called upon to lead and govern at such a time. 

There are among us those who declare we are at the beginning of the end, that these are the last days, that it won't be long now before we have a cashless society, a one-world government. While we don't know the day or the hour - and can't - God tells us in His Word to look at what is going on and recognize the seasons (see Luke 21:5-36). Even though we're not to set dates (we only look, and are, foolish when we try), we're not to be ignorant or stick our heads in the sand. We're to be ready when Jesus comes for His bride, at all times watching, waiting, and eager (see Luke 12).

I'll be honest. I don't know if we're on the cusp of the seven-year Tribulation or not. Psalm 90:4 and Peter 3:8 both say that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord. From personal experience and Bible stories we know that our God is patient and long-suffering. We also know that at some point the end of the world will come. God is faithful to His Word and He has said that things will not go on as they have forever. His plans will be accomplished; He will bring His original creation to a conclusion and make a new heaven and a new earth. All will be righteously judged.

Regardless of whether or not this world will continue for a short time or a long time, I believe there is little doubt among believers that God is doing a new thing. Some would say He is shaking the earth, trying to get people's attention. I wouldn't disagree with this assessment though there are people in my own household who still resist the good news and persist in rebellion. Thank God for those  whose eyes and hearts are turning toward Jesus. And may God continue the hidden work He is doing in my children, the evidence of which I cannot yet see... 

It's also possible that God is demonstrating His patience with us, that He is using this crisis not just to get our attention but to bring renewal to our planet. I have read, for example, that pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have decreased as a direct result of efforts to control the spread of the virus, and I imagine that wildlife populations are having a chance to return from the brink of extinction or endangerment, and that habitats are being restored. Perhaps God isn't bringing the world to an end just yet, but revitalizing it so there is more time for prodigals and unbelievers to be saved. After all, He doesn't desire that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9). He made us in His image; He loves and cares for us.

Father, thank You for keeping us safe under Your wings. Thank You for Your love for us. You never leave us nor forsake us. Since You are for us, who, or what, can be against us? Thank You for the new thing You are doing in the world even through this pandemic. We all want it to end and many of us are praying for that, but I can't help feeling that if it ends too soon, we may all just go back to our old untenable and unsustainable habits. So Your timing, Lord. Your perfect timing. Help us to change in the ways that we need to. Help us to follow Your ways.

We ask also, God, that You would be with those who are particularly vulnerable, those who have immune deficiencies, diabetes, asthma. Give them special protection. Be with those who are in quarantine or in places like nursing homes where they can't receive precious visits from family. Comfort them with Your presence and reassure them of Your love. Be with those on the front lines, those working to bring health and wholeness to the sick, those racing to find an antidote or a vaccine. Strengthen them, give them wisdom and insight, keep them in health and peace. Be with those who know You and soften the hearts of those who don't.

May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, Lord. Thank You that You are doing a new thing, whatever it is. Thank You that You are God and we are not. You are sovereign over all things, and all-wise. Thank You that we can trust You. Amen.

You can find out more about Susan Barclay's writing at www.susan-barclay.blogspot.com


  1. A perfect prayer for us today. Thank you Susan!

  2. The classic opener for a Tale of Two Cities fits right in there. Thanks, Susan, for your thoughtful and prayerful blog on the crisis the world is facing today. I appreciate your thoughts on what all of this might mean and on how God might use the circumstances to renew the world and to bring us closer to him. You have given good scripture references to consider in light of today’s circumstances and offered prayers for people in dire straights.

    I appreciate your thoughts on God’s possible revitalization of the world and God's giving another chance to prodigals and unbeliever, as he doesn’t want anyone to perish. We do trust God to work all things together for those who love God and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28), but in all of this you are also reminding us to share the good news with others. May you and your family have a blessed and meaningful Easter week.

  3. AMEN! I don't really need to say anything else, Susan. What a powerful and well written post. Much appreciated.

  4. Thank you for this encouraging post. Yes, we may be living in unsettled times, but God is still in charge. Many long to return to the way things were before, but I think God has something else in mind: a new normal, a new way of doing things - doing it His way.

  5. Thank you for words such as, your perfect timing, your will be done, God is doing a new thing, you are sovereign over all things. We know that God has the whole world in his hands. Thanks for your prayer and for sharing your thoughts about the world today.


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