That’s a welcome development for us all, but there’s a long way to go yet. We need to go carefully and do our best to observe the new guidelines, for a resurgence of infections would be a real tragedy for us all.
One of the problems for everyone now is really knowing what to do. A lot of uncertainty exists even in the information we are being given, and I think we have to accept the fact that the way ahead is not yet clear. With the lack of clarity, the danger is that people will interpret the rules as they think best for themselves, and that may not be the best way to limit infection which remains the key priority.
We may be wondering, for example, exactly how many people should we meet with, outdoors and indoors. Is it six or eight? How close should we be to others outside our own households? Is it one or two metres? Do we really need to wear face-masks and when? And when will we get some guidance about opening churches? And if you need a dentist or a medical appointment, what do you do?
The current pandemic has brought many uncertainties. Thousands of people’s holiday plans have fallen through for this summer. Many young people have been studying hard, preparing for exams which won’t now take place, and others have had their career plans and prospects seriously disrupted. It has been a tough time.
Along with the present uncertainty, we know only too well that life has always had its unknowns. We make our plans all the time, sensibly and carefully we hope, but we can’t be sure they will work out. We read in James 4.14, “You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time then vanishes away.” The future of our lives here on earth is hidden from us. As each new day arrives, God wants us to trust in Him for all we need, and ask Him to guide us and preserve us through the day ahead and for as long as we live. He promises to do that.
Whilst we do not know all about our future here on earth we can be absolutely sure about our eternal future. Unlike many of today’s instructions, God’s Word leaves us with no uncertainty about what will happen after we die, and where we are going to spend eternity. In 1 John 5.13 we read, “I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” If we have put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to save us, we will have a wonderful, eternal home in heaven with Him after our life on earth has ended (2 Corinthians 5.1). We will “depart and be with Christ which is far better” as Paul wrote in Philippians 1.23. Our Lord Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14.19). This hope is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6.19).
Thousands of years ago, God’s servant Job wrote words incorporated into this hymn by Jessie Pounds (1861-1921):
I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand,
I know eternal life He giveth,
That grace and power are in His hand.
I know my mansion He prepareth,
That where He is, there I may be;
Oh wondrous thought! for me He careth,
And He at last will come for me!
With Fanny Crosby we can sing:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!
What a blessing to be sure through God’s Word presently
of being saved through God’s grace eternally.