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Good thing, where have you gone?

By Tarryn Pegna | 02 Apr 2020

Coronavirus, conflict, disaster, climate change… the list goes on. Distress wrapped up in different names. It all got me thinking about a group of people long ago, escaping through a wilderness, who started to be killed by venomous snakes. Fear. Panic. Loss. And then God told the people to look up. (Numbers 21)

A reflection from Tearfund’s Tarryn Pegna


Coronavirus, conflict, disaster, climate change… the list goes on. Distress wrapped up in different names. It all got me thinking about a group of people long ago, escaping through a wilderness, who started to be killed by venomous snakes. Fear. Panic. Loss. And then God told the people to look up. (Numbers 21)

‘So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.’ (Numbers 21:9)

A foreshadowing of Jesus in the time of Moses. Death defeated. Hope.

Of course we don’t live unaffected by what happens in this world. Just because we know Jesus doesn’t mean we don’t face disease or hardship. But in the midst of a world that seems full of fear, panic and loss – not just of lives but of livelihoods and of hope – let us look up.

As I read messages from friends, colleagues and online school communities, as well as posts on social media and the news in general, I realised I am not the only one feeling a little overwhelmed (or a lot) at the scale of what is going on in our world. The worry of what the future holds for us and for all those we care about, both close to home and across the planet.

The Bible has some very practical advice for us:

‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.’ (Philippians 4:8) 

In light of that, let’s remember the lovely things...

Consider Lutiya in Malawi who can feed her children and pay their school fees because of the way she’s learned to farm. Beating hunger and opening up new possibilities for her children’s futures.

Think of Jamal* and Hussein* in Jordan who are seeing hope in their own lives and also building up other men who have fled the violence in Syria. Conquering depression and hopelessness through exercise groups and conversation.

Let’s remember Claude in Rwanda who – through finding the grace and love of Jesus – is reconciled with a community where he killed people during the genocide. He has been restored and has found true freedom.

The admirable things...

Think of each of our partners who work so bravely and so compassionately to meet the needs of people. The amount of love behind the commitment of each church as we work together in communities to see justice, beat poverty and respond in times of crisis.

The excellent things...

Think of every volunteer, every fundraiser, every supporter who has given of their time, prayers or finance. Think of the overwhelming pool of kindness this adds up to.

Think of the children educated, the bellies filled, the comfort brought, the moments of new hope in whole communities – because people have been willing to show love to one another and reach out across nations. To step in and be the hands, feet and voice of Jesus where it’s needed most.
  
These are good things. Let us not stop doing them and thanking God for them.

Right here, right now
On the other hand, these things – as wonderful as they are – can seem slightly removed from us as we live the reality of our own moment to moment. As we worry about our own child’s cough. Our own bills. The politics in our own backyard. (Or even where we might find some loo roll, pasta and paracetamol at this stage!)

So… to remind ourselves that there are good things everywhere, even though they’re sometimes not as loud as the challenging things, I took a walk around the Tearfund office in Teddington (just before we all moved to remote working) and got everyone who was in at the time to talk about one thing that was good in their world right then. It was surprising how difficult most of us found it to think of something initially… and incredible how much better we all felt having done so.

Sometimes it really is the small things that make a big difference… May you be blessed, encouraged and uplifted as you find the small things (or big things) that are good in your own world, right where you are today.

And let us remember who our God is.

And let us remember who our God is.

PLEASE PRAY

Dear Father, 
Thank you that you don’t stop being good even when the world seems like it’s falling apart. Your word promises that you never leave us, or abandon us. Help us to remember the good things, to be grateful for them and not to become discouraged or give up doing good. Amen.

Find Tearfund Teddington's list of good things here.


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Written by Tarryn Pegna


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