The day when I first started writing this week’s pastoral letter was my fifth day after testing positive to Covid.
For over two years since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all been vigilant to avoid contracting the virus. With the majority of the people in New South Wales vaccinated and the government lifting Covid restrictions, the chances of catching Covid have also increased. I honestly didn’t expect to catch the disease, given the fact that I had always been vigilant and had taken all three vaccination shots. When I began to feel unwell last week, then followed by a positive test result, it did take me by surprise. I asked: “Why me?” But on second thoughts, perhaps my question should have been “ Why not me?”
During this week of sickness and leave, I am very grateful to the brothers and sisters of the Mandarin congregation for their support and prayers. In particular, I am thankful to Pastor Esther Wang for her help in taking up the sermon and bible study duties on Sunday. Many brothers and sisters have also shared their care and concern. I am feeling much better now on the fifth day. Thank God for his healing grace!
I experienced a deep sense of love and care from family, brothers and sisters and friends during this time. The saying “Adversity is a test of true friendship” is real. When adversity happens, that’s when we know how precious our bond is.
On the other hand, when I was unwell and there was nothing much I could do, that’s an opportunity for me to be still and draw close to God. The Bible teaches us to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. It is indeed not easy to be thankful in times of adversity, but giving thanks is the way to help us change our focus from ourselves to God, so that we will no longer be immersed in our limitations and difficulties, but be open to what the Lord would like us to see and learn from the situation.
My biggest lesson learnt during this time is that the Lord is the One who opens our eyes to see our inner being during difficulties. There is no time to reflect on our life and our inner being in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But this week, I was able to once again reflect on my life and take stock of my inner being and refocus on the Lord Himself. When we are busy, we tend to push God aside. By God’s grace, this time of rest and recovery has allowed me to slow down and draw close to God again.
At the same time, I realised how fragile life is. The reality is that there is nothing we can really depend on in life – neither wealth, nor health. All things will pass one day, and we can only depend on our Lord Jesus Christ, who is with us from here to eternity. He should be the one whom we seek to follow and obey. We are thankful for the opportunity to know Him, to have our sins forgiven, to call Him our Saviour and to have eternal life. No matter what difficulties we face on this earth, they are only temporary; only Jesus Christ is our everything.
It is my prayer that all brothers and sisters can be filled with joy in Christ and stay healthy physically and spiritually. Let us learn to be thankful in all circumstances.