PASTORAL LETTER FROM REV JOSEPH TEMBO 24th FEBRUARY 2021

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Friends, “How Long O Lord?” must resonate very well with most people if not all of us.

This question is heard out loud or is asked privately, quietly and away from other people; and it is asked in situations of injustice against us, in illnesses or in any kind of suffering.

Living in a pandemic we never dreamt about in our lifetime, the majority hope is for this pandemic to have been dealt with, and possibly to have been left behind us in 2020, the year in which it became commonly manifested to the whole world. Obviously, to still live with coronavirus in 2021 raises a lot of questions, not least is the common question “How long”?

As a Godly people who trust in the living God and pray in and for every situation, we are bound to have directed the question to the Lord, asking him, “How long O Lord?” How long will we have to wait before we see you taking action? How long will we pray before we see you giving answers in whatever way that deals with the virus? How long before we can all be safe to go out there and to live our lives without the threat of infection and or death from the virus? We ask, how long before we can gather together again as churches to sing together and to hold our festivals as we have done since the Church began? How long, how long, how long?

Saints have asked this question in the past; and they did so while remaining in the faith – trusting God and being faithful to him. Trusting God to be faithful and true which is according to his nature and character; and to remain faithful like a wife who, during the First and the Second World Wars, respectively, remained faithful to her husband, and waited for him to return from whichever war he went to fight in.

The saints did not step out of the faith or their relationship with God or each other to ask or when they asked the question “How long O Lord?” I for one remain rooted in Jesus Christ as the pandemic seems to go on and on around the world, taking new forms or metamorphosising into new or combined variants, I remain rooted in Jesus Christ when I have continued to be unwell for longer than it has been in living memory, I remain rooted in the Lord when so much grief has been dealt to me by the storms of life. You too brothers and sisters can and must remain firm in the Lord in whatever situation you are living. Stay in Christ Jesus, and ask the question “How long O Lord”? from within, and not outside. The concluding phrase of 1 John 2.27 exhorts us saying ‘…remain in him.’

You might like to read Psalm 6, and see that “How long O Lord” is asked within one’s relationship with God, it is asked while being hemmed in between trust, hemmed in by faith, hemmed in on every side by confidence in God. There is no sense of doubt, unbelief, or resentment. It is the honest outpouring of our hearts that the question must be.

The great thing to highlight is the fact that God always brings things to pass in one way or another. This may not be according to our calendar dates or our clock timings, but he always comes through; and for whatever reason you are asking the question today, the Lord will come through for you.

Therefore, let us look to Jesus who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last; and according to the Living Bible Version of the Bible, the A and the Z. Look to him, and wait for him.

I know that suffering and hardships are what always trigger the question “How long”. Thank God, Jesus is our helper! Concerning this, Hebrews 2.18 in the American Standard Version of the Bible says ‘For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.’

Let me finish this rather unusual letter by suggesting the following four songs. I know that four is perhaps four too many. But I am sure you are likely to find them or at least one useful. They are:

“Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”; “Sometimes It Takes A Mountain”; “I Need Thee Every Hour”; “How Long O Lord” (YouTube Video)

keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Amen

Joseph Tembo.

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