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Viewpoint from Rev Brian Hall 07/05/2021

Brian HallRev Brian Hall
Vicar, St Andrew’s Church, Gorleston-on-Sea


This past year has taken its toll on our personal lives, on our relationships, on our economy, on our collective mental health, on our churches, and on our communities. Everyone, without exception, has experienced the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions it has imposed upon us

 
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease across the UK, the question on our lips is, “How long?” How long until life gets back to normal? How long before the Covid-19 pandemic is finally brought under control? How long before I can take a holiday abroad?
 
dove leftIf you’ve been tempted to ask God the “how long” question, whether in relation to the current pandemic or some other agonising situation of suffering or confusion, you’re in good company. ‘How long, Lord?’ is a question that has been commonly asked by the Bible’s poets and prophets, as well as many saints down the centuries
 
For example, Psalm 13 begins with the words, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me for ever? How long will you hide your face from me?” The prophet Habakkuk complains, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?”
 
Dove rightJulian of Norwich, whose feast day is remembered in the month of May, asked the question back in the 14th century. She was no stranger to pandemics herself, having suffered from the plague in 1372. After much prayer and meditation, she was given an answer that has echoed down the centuries. In her ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ she wrote that God had revealed to her that: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”. “He said not ‘Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased’; but He said, ‘Thou shalt not be overcome’”
 
That is a promise that we can hang on to: all shall be well in the end. But it is also necessary to add: if it is not well with you today, then it is not yet the end. This is a perspective on life that is full of faith, of hope, of trust in the goodness of God. If you believe that we can always trust in God for the final outcome, then maybe you could share it with someone you know who is agonising over something in their lives


also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury

 

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