After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:1-6)
Even as a chosen one and a man of God, Abraham was not immune to trouble, distress, and fear. I cannot imagine how a sojourner, an immigrant, with an army of 318 men could defeat the combined army of five Kings (See Genesis 14). The King of Sodom and the King of Salem gave him honor and gratitude after he had rescued Lot and completed a successful mission. Abraham did not just become very wealthy; he had also become very powerful while living among kings in a foreign land. But this did not give him peace or security until God gave him a vision, a reason not to be afraid, and a hope for the future.
None of us is immune to the effect of COVID-19 Pandemic, or the trouble of life. In time of distress and fear, God is ever near to us. Abraham imagined he could never have an heir since his wife was barren. More importantly, how could he ever become great since he was surrounded by kings who would be his adversaries rather than his subjects? I think Abraham had many sleepless nights, he could not comprehend what God had promised him, and perhaps, never felt safe. The vision he received from God changed all these. As with Abraham, God will speak to us, or give us a vision, or a hope to live beyond our imaginations and capacity in this difficult time. God is the source of our peace and security.
Thus, as you cope with the new normal and COVID-19, please know that you are never alone. God is closer to you than ever in these difficult times and will give you vision and hope beyond your imagination and capacity. Seek God in time of your deepest distress and you will hear God whispering. Pray and determine what God is saying. My hope is that what you hear will give you peace and courage to live each day as though there had never been COVID-19 and the effects of it.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.
Dhau ntawd Aplas ua yog toog pom Yawmsaub hais rau nws tias, “Aplas, koj tsis txhob ntshai, kuv yog daim hlau uas thaiv koj, kuv yuav pub tshav ntuj ntau kawg rau koj.” Aplas nug tias, “Au Vajtswv Yawmsaub, koj yuav pub dabtsi rau kuv? Vim tias kuv tseem tsis tau muaj menyuam li, mas Eliyexaw uas yog neeg Damaxaka yuav ua tus uas saws kuv qub txeeg qub teg.” Thiab Aplas hais tias, “Koj tsis tau pub menyuam rau kuv, mas ib tug tub qhe uas yug hauv kuv tsev yuav ua tus saws kuv qub txeeg qub teg.” Mas Yawmsaub hais lus tuaj rau Aplas tias, “Tus kod tsis yog tus uas saws koj qub txeeg qub teg. Koj tus tub uas koj yug yuav ua tus uas saws ntag.” Yawmsaub txawm coj Aplas tawm rau sab nraud mas hais tias, “Cia li saib saum ntuj, yog koj suav txheeb tej hnub qub cia li suav mus.” Mas Yawmsaub hais rau nws tias, “Koj caj ces yuav coob ib yam nkaus li ntawd.” Aplas kuj ntseeg Yawmsaub. Yawmsaub suav tias qhov uas Aplas ntseeg ntawd yog txojkev ncaj ncees rau Aplas. (Chivkeeb 15:1-6)
Txawm tas Anplahaa yuav yog tug Vaajtswv xaiv lossis tug mob sab rau ntseeg Vaajtswv los nws yeej tseem raug tej kev txhawj kev ntshais, los kev nyuab sab ntxhuv plawv. Kuv tseem xaav tsi thoob tas yog vim le caag ib tug tuabneeg nyob pheebsuab, tsi muaj teb muaj chaw, ho muaj tau 318 leej tub rog hab kovyeej paab nam tub rog ntawm tsib leej vaajntxwv (Saib Chivkeeb 14). Tomqaab Anplahaa moog tso rau Lauj hab kovyeej tsib tug vaajntxwv, Vaajntxwv ntawm Xaudoo hab Vaajtswv ntawm Xalee tau tuaj qhua hab ua tsaug rua Anplahaa. Anplahaa tub tsi yog dhlau moog ua ib tug tuabneeg npluanuj xwb, nwg tseem yog ib tug tuabneeg muaj fwjchim ua tau heev sijhawm nwg nyob nrug cov vaajntxwv xeeb teb xeeb chaw. Tabsi Anplahaam tsi muaj kev kaaj sab lossis nyob ruaj ntseg txug nub kws Vaajtswv tshim ua npau suav ywg toog rua nwg, yaam kws ua rua nwg tsi ntshai hab muaj kev ca sab rua lub neej tomntej.
Peb tsi muaj leej twg yuav tsi ntshai kaabmob Covid-19, lossis tej teebmeem kws peb raug ntawm lub neej. Sijhawm kws peb ntsib kev txhawj ntshai hab kev ntxhuv sab kawg nkaus, Vaajtswv nyob ze peb tshaajplawg. Anplahaa xaav tas nwg yeej yuav tsi muaj ib tug tub lug txais nwg lub cuab tam vim nwg tug quaspuj xeeb tsi taug mivnyuas. Tsi taag le xwb, nwg yuav ua le caag dlhau moog ua tau ib tug tuabneeg tseemceeb vim muaj lwm haiv tuabneeg tej vaajntswv coob leej nyob puagncig nwg kws yuav ua nwg cov yeejncuab tsi yog ua pejxeem. Kuv xaav tas Anplahaa yeej pw tsi raug zug ntau mo, nwg tsi totaub txug Vaajtswv tej lug cog tseg, hab tej zag, nwg yeej nyob ntshai ntsws naj nub. Qhov kev ua npau suav ywgtooj ntawm Vaajtswv ua rua txhua yaam nuav hloov taagnrho. Ib yaam le rua Anplahaa, Vaajtswv yuav has lug rua peb, peb yuav ua npau suav ywgtoog, lossis Vaajtswv yuav ua kuas peb muaj kev ca sab ua neej tshaaj le tej yaam kws peb txhawj ntshai hab muaj peevxwm ua tau, tshwjxeeb nyob rua lub sijhawm kws peb ntsib kev txhawj xeeb txomnyem. Vaajtswv yog lub chaw kws ua rua peb muaj kev kaaj sab hab nyob ruaj ntseg.
Yog le ntawd, sijhawm koj nyob rua lub caijnyoog tawm tshab nuav hab Covid-19, thov kuas koj paub tas koj yeej tsi nyob ib leeg. Vaajtswv yuav nyob ze koj tshaaj plawg lub sijhawm kws koj raug kev txomnyem ntxhuv sab hab yuav pub kuas kuas koj muaj lub zeemmuag hab kev ca sab tshaaj le kws koj kev xaav muaj hab lub peevxwm. Nrhav Vaajtswv lub sijhawm kws koj raug kev nyuab sab ntxhuv plawv, koj yuav nov Vaajtswv lub suab ntxhws rua koj. Thov, noog hab xaam saib Vaajtswv has dlaabtsi. Kuv qhov kev ca sab yog xaav kuas yaam koj nov ntawd yuav ua rua koj muaj kev kaaj sab hab tsi ntshai txhua nub ib yaam le kws sijhawm thaum tseem tsi tuaj muaj tug kaabmob Covid-19 hab lwm yaam kws muaj tshimsim lug ntawm tug kaabmob nuav.