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Meaning in the Midst of Disruption

Disruptions to our life are untimely and inconvenient. They break the flow of our plans, scheduled events and normal ways of doing things. We cannot do business as usual. We are forced to make changes and adapt. When the disruption is severe and unprecedented—as in the case of the present pandemic—our routines are broken, our life is put on hold and our world is turned upside down.

We often derive significance from the things that we enjoy and do well. When we can no longer do them, we start to question our significance. We may get discouraged and even feel depressed. We may feel anxious and even fearful about an uncertain future.

Although a severe disruption presents huge challenges to many aspects of our life, it also provides us great opportunities to reflect on the path we have travelled so far and our desired direction for the future. We find ourselves asking fundamental questions like, “Who am I?”, “What is my purpose in life?”, “Which people and things in my life are most important to me?” and “What should my priorities be?”.

The Bible presents the perfect life of humanity as having been disrupted by the choice of the first humans to sin against God their Creator and Ruler (Gen 1-3). With the entry of sin into the human heart and the entire created order, the experience of corruption, violence, death and decay became the existential reality of the whole human race and all of creation. From God’s revelation through Scripture and His Son Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul understood that God’s plan was to bring all His children and the creation into a new existence in His glory at the end of this present age:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope  21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Rom 8:18-23 ESV)

Christians await new bodies and a renewed creation from God. Meanwhile in this present age of Disruption (with a capital “D”), they wait patiently with their hope firmly placed in God:

24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Rom 8:24-25 ESV)

When Christians face all manner of disruptions (with a small “d”) during their life on this side of eternity, they can take comfort in one solid and comforting truth: That in all things—even severe disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic—God works for the good of those who have been called as His children, using their difficulties, pain and suffering to mould and shape them into increasing Christlikeness:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Rom 8:28-30 NIV)

Therefore, you can always find meaning in the midst of disruption. It all starts when you enter into a relationship with God through believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who loves you more than you can imagine and willingly died on the cross to pay the penalty for all your sins, and thereby offers you reconciliation to God. That relationship is forever and will never end. And only within that relationship will the ultimate purpose and ultimate meaning of your life become clear.

Written by Ps Ivan Ho

We hope that you will take time to explore the suggested resources below and that they will help you move forward in your faith journey and grow in your knowledge of God.

 

SERMON

“Finding Meaning in the Midst of Disruption”, by Rev Edmund Chan: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1555

 

SCRIPTURE

Isaiah 53

Romans 3:9-18

Romans 3:19-31

Romans 5:1-11

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Philippians 3:7-14

1 John 4:7-12

 

SONGS

“Sovereign Over Us”, by Aaron Keyes: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VPkMbhydU9I

“Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me”, by City Alight: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hwc2d1Xt8gM

“Christ Is Mine Forevermore”, by City Alight: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=roQovDZeAWE

“How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”, by Stuart Townend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CNF-4tC8m4

“Beautiful Saviour”, by Stuart Townend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSm6fdZHl5Q

“The Potter’s Hand”, by Hillsong Worship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgXL3y9RIbI&gl=SG

 

TESTIMONIES

Belinda Lee’s Journey of Faith: https://saltandlight.sg/service/from-party-girl-to-world-vision-ambassador/

(Seasoned media personality, Belinda Lee, shares her story of how she moved from a life of meaninglessness and emptiness despite fame and money to a life of joy and purpose in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.)

“The Hand of God Was Holding Us Up”: https://saltandlight.sg/leadership/the-hand-of-god-is-holding-us-up-choe-peng-sum-on-how-pan-pacific-hotels-group-is-ready-to-expand-despite-covid/

(Hospitality veteran, Choe Peng Sum, shares how God has enabled him to lead the Pan Pacific Hotels Group forward in a time of severe disruption to the hotel industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.)

 

ARTICLES & VIDEOS

“The Pandemic and the Will of God”, by Ross Douthat: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/11/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-religion.amp.html

“Is There More to Life Than This?”, Alpha Film Series Episode 1: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hBMMD5C0k-s

“How Can I Make the Most of the Rest of My Life?”, by Nicky Gumbel: https://vimeo.com/340710092

“Disruption 101: How COVID-19 is Revolutionising Work”, by Channel News Asia: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/podcasts/heart-of-the-matter/coronavirus-covid-19-company-business-digital-disrupt-work-home-12648072

“There is no returning to normal after COVID-19. But there is a path forward.”, by Marco Albani: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/covid-19-three-horizons-framework/

“Does the Future Have a Church?”, by Ng Zhi-Wen and others: https://www.scgm.org.sg/does-the-future-have-a-church/

(An excellent piece that provides much useful food for thought to Christians—especially leaders in the Singapore local churches—who desire to be “future-ready” and “future-faithful”.)

“Global Transmission Global Mission”, by Jason Mandryk: http://covid-19.operationworld.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Global-Transmission-Global-Mission.pdf)

(In this short e-book, Jason Mandryk of Operation World has put into writing his wide-ranging observations and reflections on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact and implications on our world and the global Church’s global mission. Whether you are a Christian or not, currently involved in Christian missions or not, it will be well worth your time reading this insightful and well-written book.)

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
Daniel 4:28-37
Mon, 30 January 2023

Where Is God in This?

Observation:

What can you learn about God from the passage?

Deeper Reflection
Daniel calls us to look at history – past, present and future – theologically. Embedded in Daniel is the theology of history. Daniel is about the sovereignty of God over human history. The history in Daniel spans from Israel’s exile to Babylon (Dan 9:1-2) to the time Jesus announced, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk 1:15; Dan 7:13-14), and beyond, until God’s people “reign forever and ever” with God (Rev 22:5; Dan 7:18).Israel was ruled over by the Babylonians (586-539 B.C.), followed by the Persians (539-331 B.C.) and then the Greeks (331-143 B.C.). The Maccabeans revolted against the Greeks (168-143 B.C.) and Israel became an independent nation under the Hasmoneans (142-63 B.C.) until Rome’s intervention in 63 B.C.30 In this long history, God’s people faced “distinctive problems thrown up by the Exile, by consequent involvement with world powers and their totalitarian claims, and by the long delay in achieving political freedom after the return to Jerusalem. As successive empires engulfed Judea, opposition would bring increased persecution, not liberation. The question arose, where was God in this?” 31Daniel is God’s answer to this theological crisis – with four key focuses. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2:31-33 and Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:1-8 reveal the superpowers in history. God’s people will suffer in godliness in “a time of distress” under the rule of anti-God kings (Dan 12:1). But they are to rest in the sovereignty of God – “the Most High” who “is ruler over the realm of mankind” (Dan 4:25, 32) and remain steadfast in faithfulness to God (Dan 12:10-12).
29 Isaiah 14:24, 26-27 30 Harold W. Hoehner, Between the Testaments, The Bible Expositor’s Commentary, Vol. 1 (Zondervan, 1979), 184-189 31 Joyce G. Baldwin, Daniel, Theology of, The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis (Zondervan, 1997), Vol. 4, 502 (emphasis mine)
Application:

How do I look at the world and history through the sovereignty of God?

Prayer:
O Lord God Almighty, the only wise God, You have determined Your plan and purpose for the whole world, and Your sovereign hand is stretched out over all nations. For surely, as You have planned, so it will be, and as You have purposed, so it will happen. For the Lord God Almighty has purposed and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out and who can turn it back.29
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for Church Board: To be continually guided by the wisdom of the Lord in discerning the times and directing the affairs of the church
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self
 

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