Of a Virtual World

I was struck this morning, while my thoughts formed an amalgam of Scripture and the injustices of life, about the problems and deficiencies, of living in a virtual world. Because that is in fact what is happening at this time of viral mayhem. Our places of social interaction, our pubs, clubs, restaurants, and even our churches, are all closed down. Our movements are severely limited, and we have the bizarre situation where even contact between family members is restricted to a conversation through an open window, a letter box, or over the ‘phone. 

Psalm 123 starts with the verse, “I rejoiced with those who said to me,‘Let us go to the house of the Lord‘”. Though, spiritually, the door into God’s presence is always open to His children, in our physical realm, we also yearn for the time when the door into our spiritual meeting places will be equally accessible. Because it is there where another facet of God’s presence becomes available to His children. It is there where we can bring a word of encouragement to those in need and where we can find solace for our own needs. It is there where corporate worship, the preaching of the Word, Holy Spirit ministry and the fellowship of the saints all combine into a wonderful sense of God’s presence, lifting our souls and spirits out of the valleys, up into the light of His presence, rapturing us into heavenly realms.

We are fortunate that contact can be maintained by the non-proximal use of technology, with modern digital “Apps” such as “WhatsApp” and “Zoom”, “FaceTime” and “Skype”, all enabling us to see and talk with our friends and family. But it is a poor second best. I know three dear ladies who have lost loved ones at this time and their pain and grief is compounded by the restrictions on travel and physical contact with their loved ones. Just watching their pain is almost too hard to bear, and at a time like this all you want to do is share with them a Divine hug, because our Father in Heaven is grieving too.

Thankfully, these restrictive days are numbered. There will be a time when we can meet again in a physical setting. When we can have a party with our friends and family, sharing joy and stories, unlimited and set free from governmental decree. And I, like many fellow believers, are praying that this will be sooner rather than later. But until then we need to plug into Heaven, into our Heavenly Father’s resources, His grace, His love, and continue to persevere with any means we can access, while the refining fires of social distancing drive us into our Father’s arms.

Habakkuk asked God one day what He was going to do about the wickedness and sin so rampant in the Jewish society of his day (warning – be careful what you pray for – God might give you an answer you didn’t want or expect!). And he was totally staggered by God’s response, that the cruel Babylonians would be allowed to bring about change. I don’t know if God is permitting something similar to happen in global societies today – only history will tell. But l am hearing and reading about stories of God’s grace extending into many areas where previously He and His presence were shunned. So we give Him glory for that. God will always bring about the best in adversity – Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose“.

Right at the end of the book of Habakkuk are these words: 

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
  and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.

No virus can take away our joy, our access to God’s resources. Habakkuk’s Godly perspective must be ours as well.

Lockdown Musings

It would be easy to become despondent or even depressed as the current, modern-day, plague continues to take its course. Recriminations bounce around the media and governmental circles, and the world has suddenly become populated by experts, all of whom seem to know better than those tasked with steering our society through this crisis.

And it seems that some people really believe that by some miracle of science, electromagnetic radiation from radio masts can transmute into a virus. Medieval alchemistic myths are still alive and well in 21st Century Britain!

Statistics are being quoted and misquoted, and arguments abound about the number of deaths, with, apparently, little thought for the personal tragedies in grieving families. The phrase, popularised by Mark Twain in the 19th century, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” comes to mind. It was probably as true then as it is today!

My Bible notes took me this morning to John 17, where Jesus prayed that His disciples would be protected from the “world”. No matter how we feel, though, He didn’t pray that we would be taken out of the world; rather that the world would be taken out of us (sanctification). We are citizens of a new world, where there is no sadness, sickness, plague, or death, though for a time we are having to remain in the old world. So we look on as the citizens of this world thrash around, riven by fear, searching for reasons, looking for scapegoats. But the reason we stay and live in this world is to share the hope that we have inside us, providing stability as people’s foundations are shaken. Jesus in John 17:21b says, “May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me“. That’s what it’s all about, folks. The closer we are to God, the more the world will see that we are of a different spirit, one that is wired into Heaven. So let’s keep praying and using every item in our technological tool box to reach out to those around us, bringing words of life. How about introducing our friends, neighbours and family to Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Or Psalm 23:4. and there are many more relevant Scriptures.

I don’t know, how much longer this house arrest will continue. But I do know that God is with us, and will still be with us long after this plague has passed. Keep praying!


All my life I have been used to the date system of “BC” and “AD” when looking at dates, particularly as I read and research the Bible. The expressions “Before Christ” and “Anno Domini” (The year of our Lord) have been second nature to me. So I was perplexed this morning when I found a Wikipedia article referencing “BCE” and “CE”. Apparently, this means “Before Common Era” and “Common Era”. Although there is no numerical difference between the two naming systems – they both refer to the Gregorian Calendar – the very fact that something so deeply entrenched in my psyche has been abandoned by the society in which we live, came as a surprise, even a bit of a shock. And our schools here in the UK have been teaching this system since 2002 so I’m told. I cannot see any reason why this change should have been applied, other than yet one more example of the creeping secularisation that is being imposed on Western societies.

Compared to the plethora of anti-Christian laws and attitudes in society, it is just a small thing. I am much more bothered by topical issues such as abortion and gender confusion, the persecution of Christians in this country and beyond, the repression of Biblical Christian views and values which we value so highly. But it highlighted to me again the importance of discerning the times, and being on my guard to avoid the dilution of the Christian values I hold so dear.

The Bible provides much advice about the times in which we live. Ecclesiastes 3 famously starts with, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens“. But an important point emerges from the thoughts of Solomon in verse 11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart.” Eternity. Independent of any time system. No Gregorian calendar or secularist philosophies where we are heading. Perhaps the perspective we need for this life comes from Psalm 90:14, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”