My daily readings took me to John 15 this morning, and as we are in the middle of this Corona Virus pandemic, the words of verse7,  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”, jumped out of the page at me. Surely, went my initial thought, through my, and your, relationship with Jesus, we only have to ask, and this pandemic will disappear at a stroke. But we can’t take this verse out of context. Jesus was teaching His disciples about how important it is to remain connected to Him, as a branch is connected to a vine. And Jesus’ illustration clearly shows that unless a branch has a connection to the life-giving vine, it will wither and die. Unless we stay connected to Him we too will wither and die in our spiritual lives. And the result of staying connected to Him, is that we will produce “much fruit”. 

What is fruit? I always add a chopped up apple to my morning bowl of porridge (yes – I hear the howl of protests from my truly Scottish friends – I add granulated sweetener as well – the ultimate sin!). A few days ago I found that an apple that looked good on the outside; in fact it was rotten inside, full of a brown gunge that showed what will eventually happen to an apple when it is disconnected from the tree that bore it. And so it is with us – we can disconnect from the vine that is Jesus, and keep going for a while before the rottenness in our souls is discovered.

But Jesus wants us to bear healthy fruit continually. Fruit is something that is good to eat. It contains nourishment. And seeds that can be replanted. So we must use the fruit we produce in our lives to nourish ourselves and others and plant the seeds of the Gospel whenever we get the opportunity. The fruit we bear is eternal fruit, not the fruit we find in the world; worldly fruit may look good on the outside but holds emptiness and corruption within.

So what about verse 7? Through it Jesus is saying to me that there is a higher, Heavenly, purpose at work here. As I remain close to Him, and obey His Word, any request that I have will align with His will and purposes for these times. And that is where faith and trust kick in. God is still on His throne and in due course we will perhaps find out why He allowed this virus to have such a devastating impact on our increasingly small world. In the meantime, all I have to do is remain close to Jesus, and trust Him. And pray for those around me who are fearful, sick, and who need a Saviour.

The Virus

With the country in virtual lock down, social contact discouraged, non-food shops closed, along with leisure places such as pubs, clubs, hotels, gyms and restaurants, even caravan parks, society as we know it has almost ceased to exist. Even our churches and religious activities have been closed down, at least when and where they involve people coming together. People are having to stay at home, working there if they can, or perhaps sitting in front of mind-numbing daytime television riddled with doom and gloom news broadcasts. Jigsaws have been dusted off. Table games have emerged from the bottom drawer. Social media is being overworked, belching forth a plethora of comments and posts good and bad. The news reports are, as usual, skewed towards the most negative accounts of life. If one supermarket experiences a food riot, all of a sudden they all have them. If one person dies from catching the virus, all of a sudden we are all going to die as well. Through it all, those people who don’t know God are gripped by an underlying fear. Questions such as, “How am I going to cope if I lose my job?” or “Will Mum get sick?” or “If I get it will I die?” and many more are foremost in their minds. People have lost control of their destinies. Their mortality suddenly rises up before them. But God’s people have a secret weapon – faith.

There are some rays of light shining in the darkness. A leader columnist in a broadsheet a few days ago concluded that if science is unable to resolve this virus problem soon it will most likely drive him towards going to church again. And an on-line prayer meeting in London yesterday saw a big increase in people dialling in, over and above the numbers they would normally expect. Because of the media bias against anything Christian, there must be many more such tales that fail to reach the news outlets. As people generally come face to face with the reality of our times, God’s common grace becomes evident. Communities are coming together to help their most vulnerable. Random acts of kindness are happening in every street, every workplace, supermarkets, anywhere where there are people.

There have been parallels drawn between now and the war time years, with society fragmented and under attack then as now. But at least in the war, people could get together and pray, and there were well-documented occasions when the prayers of God’s people changed the progress of the war. In today’s viral mayhem, people are discouraged – may soon even be banned – from meeting together. In some ways the enemy’s scheme, if that is what it is, seems to be very effective. The enemy doesn’t want God’s people to meet together and pray, because he knows how effective it is.  But God likes nothing more than to interact with His children through prayer. And prayer changes things.  Thankfully we have technology that can work instead. Livestreamed prayer sessions and services, group chats on a variety of platforms, even low-tech phone calls all fill the gap. And we also have the benefit of communicating with our loving Heavenly Father individually from our homes (and out walking the dog – I think that is still allowed!). 

So what is God doing in this season? I know what I would like Him to do. I would like Him to stop this virus in its tracks, at a stroke. And in some way communicate this to the secular society in which we live so that He gets all the glory and a revival breaks out in response. However, God’s agenda is not the same as mine. He sees the end from the beginning. He may still answer my prayers (I’m sure I’m not the only person praying this way), but He has a higher, eternal purpose at heart which may yet surprise us all. And in times of fear – we all experience it at times – we have the privilege of being able to turn to our Heavenly Father and feel His comfort flood over us. We have something precious that the world does not have. Let’s not despise it but instead use these times to reach out to anyone we can, to introduce them to the love of Jesus.


There seems to be a view within Christian circles that we in Western society don’t suffer from persecution. And it is true that the physical and emotional violence experienced by our Christian brothers and sisters in many parts of the world are not present in our society. But nevertheless Western Christians are also under attack, with a persecution of a more subtle kind. In the UK, our governments are increasingly passing laws and regulations that are at variance with Scripture. It has been said that the Scottish government is the Western leader in the race to try and convert society into a non-religious, amorphous mass where the moral foundations of previous generations count for nothing. Yes, we still have the freedom to meet in our churches and places of worship, but even there it is becoming increasingly clear that the words from the pulpit have to be carefully weighed in the light of certain types of legislation. Our schools and universities promote the strident calls from minority groups in a frenzy of liberalism, implementing “no-platforming” policies to silence those who dare to stand up and call out such policies. The nation’s children are being indoctrinated into such nonsense as the fluidity of gender, and “educated” with so-called morals that can never be reconciled with God’s laws. Even the BBC, the bastion of previous generations, is now riddled with a liberalistic “wokeness”, largely at variance with their audience around the country. Social media erupts in a cacophony of abuse should a Christian post dare to contradict the minority views of certain groups. Franklin Graham’s attempts to reach the nation for Jesus have come under attack from local councils because he dares to stand for the sanctity of God’s Word, with previously-booked venues being closed to him. And sadly, there are many in the traditional church who are now embracing liberalistic theology that denies the very Biblical precepts that God has been teaching through His servants for millennia.

So what should Bible-believing Christians in this country do? First and foremost we must pray for those people in authority in the UK (1 Timothy 2:1-4). There is a very active group of Christian parliamentarians at Westminster who need our prayers. I haven’t, sadly, found any such group in Holyrood but there is one SNP, recently elected, Christian politician who needs our prayers – Kate Forbes (new Scottish Government Finance Minister). And we should pray for organisations such as the Christian Institute, CARE and Christian Voice, as they courageously uphold Godly principles in our society. Secondly, we should be discerning of the times and take every opportunity to lovingly correct our friends and families if they start to embrace sinful or worldly philosophies. Thirdly, we should develop our “stories” so that we are certain of what we believe and why we believe it, readying ourselves to share at appropriate times with those in our communities. Fourthly, pray for a Holy Spirit revival to erupt in our nation, our communities, our families, bringing an outpouring of God’s grace like we have never seen before.

The encouraging thing in all of this is that God is still on His throne. He never slumbers or sleeps. He is watching what is going on. And He always answers our prayers with perfect timing.


The past few weeks seem to have been dominated by storms. The Met Office gives them names, as though they are people, or have personalities. Ciara, then Dennis and now Jorge. They all have one thing in common though – copious amounts of rain, damaging winds, flooding; all weather events that inconvenience many people dwelling in this country and in particular those living in certain low-lying areas, or next to flooding rivers, bringing damage to property and disruption and danger to lives.

Those people involved in weather forecasting give each storm a name, perhaps to shift the blame for bad weather onto malevolent “gods” who are out to get us. The prophets of environmental doom blame “climate change” or “global warming”. They cry out their predictions about global temperature rises and the consequences for us all, with emotion and censure unhelpfully clouding the science and ways to mitigate the consequences. And militant environmentalists try and shift the blame onto previous generations, seemingly blind to the hypocrisy of their own life styles and carbon footprints.

But is there anything we can do to prevent the global warming and climate change that we are currently experiencing? There may well be but there won’t be a “quick fix” because the consequential behavioural implications for global societies would seem to be unpalatable to say the least. We live in a society underpinned by, or even addicted to, the need for unlimited quantities of cheap energy, and it seems that this is where the potential damage is coming from.

So how should Christians approach this thorny issue? Current opinion lies between the extremes of denial on the one hand, and an apocryphal event just round the corner on the other. Unhelpful, to say the least. But common sense should indicate that we all need to do our bit to reduce our “carbon footprint” and look after our environment. And, as with all societal issues, we should pray for our government, our scientists and our communities. And keep open to God and His Spirit – He holds our future in His hands.