When the lockdown was lifted and people were allowed to go back to face-to-face worshipping, churches started making preparations and most were not really certain how it will work out. Due to the long gap of staying at home and not attending service physically for over 18 months, some people are still scared to attend; some had gotten used to joining on-line via Zoom and other means and so, are comfortable to carry on that way. However, for those attending physically, it is great joy to see fellow brothers and sisters again, alive and well. I must confess that after such a long time of not dressing up to go to church, it was a bit difficult to get back to the routine again.
Face-to-face worship commenced on 26th September 2021 at Christ Believers Fellowship. Before that day, we had been praying and making lots of preparations as we wanted to make sure that those who have been joining us via Zoom from different parts of the country/abroad (who are not able to attend physically) do not miss out.
Before the pandemic, setting up for Service was a bit tedious – there were lots of gadgets (wires, cables, microphones, keyboard and speakers etc.) to be brought out and connected to get the Service started. So, I thought it was going to be more difficult after the lockdown to set up. A strong Mobile internet Router was bought that will allow us access the internet faster; a special camera and stand were all set in place. Then fear, panic and anxiety started to creep in with different negative thoughts on how this will be possible. Pastor and two of the brothers went to church twice during that week to see how the set up will be done especially now that we will also be using Zoom during the Service.
When we went for the set up rehearsal on Saturday before the Sunday Service, I noticed that all the usual gadgets named above were not brought out. I vividly remember asking why we are not bringing them out and was told they are no longer needed. I was so happy to hear that, especially when the two teenagers who usually assist in setting up have now gone to the University. God who sees the future has timed everything so well for our good – what an amazing God we serve! I could not believe my eyes when the setting up took less than 20 minutes. Suddenly, I remembered the maxim that says “God works in mysterious way, His wonders to perform”. All our fears and panic began to fade away when we realised how easy it has been. Then , the verse below quickly cameto mind.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3: 5 – 6).
As humans, we are always very fast to start planning and calculating what to do when we are faced with daunting tasks or challenges. We have sleepless nights, become stressed and weary because for a split second, we have forgotten who is in control of everything. In Psalms 32: 8 God says
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.
Surely, it was God that guided us throughout this whole process. Then, I asked myself this question. “Why do we worry so much when God knows what we need?” He even used the pandemic to work all things better for our good.
When we got to church on Sunday, everything was so easy and better than we anticipated. It was so nice to see Brothers and s
Sisters face-to-face again after such a long time. More wonderful was the fact that we were able to sing and praise God together.
The hymn we sang was “Redeemed, How I Long To Proclaim It”. Yes indeed, we have been redeemed from the pandemic that took away so many lives, not because we are better but for the grace and mercy of God. David was so confident of God’s unwavering protection that he was bold enough to declare “… Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; … For Thou art with me …. (Psalms 23:4 NKJV) The pandemic is not over yet but I am confident that God who has kept us this far will continue to keep us safe no matter how threatening the situation might be in the future. Clearing up at the end of the Service was so easy that we had enough time chat, have tea together and recapitulate on past events. The lesson I have learnt from this challenge is that God is always in the midst of our fears even when we do not realise it. It confirms a verse we love so much in Zephaniah 3: 17 – “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. My prayer is that God will continue to help us remember this and trust Him at all times.