Such a Time as This…

What does one even say at such a time as this?

The last two years have been extraordinarily difficult for many people, and for those of us in the “helping professions”, we have had a front-row seat to the disasters and tragedies countless people have faced. Here is just a small smattering of things I have had to watch:

  • – Due to the increased stress, decreased human connection, and incredible uncertainty, mental health issues are more widespread than I have ever seen, not only growing in frequency but also in severity.
  • – In a remarkably similar trend, substance abuse issues have also risen sharply.
  • – Along with these other two, we serve those who are devastated after their loved ones attempted to take their own lives. If we are lucky they will have failed and we will get a chance to talk to the survivors of those attempts.
  • – Domestic abuse has gone up, as have the number of marriages in distress.
  • – There are so many people who have become disabled due to minor medical issues. In times past, hospitals existed to offer medical treatment. In our region, our hospital staff has often been bored beyond words because they are not allowed to offer treatment to anyone who’s needs are deemed non-essential. This has cost some people their lives, others their livelihoods, and has left countless people in tremendous pain with no hope for receiving treatment.
  • – We have grieved with families who have lost loved ones to Covid-19, some young parents, leaving behind their spouse and children.
  • – We have held funerals that were limited to only 10 people in attendance. At the very place where our faith tradition and culture would find some comfort from our community, this has been denied to grieving families and people have been left to grieve with only a blessed few people to support them.
  • – I have listened to various complaints of people working in health care. Some are harassed, even by Christians, who take out their anger on the front-line workers. Other times I listen to nurses who wish they wouldn’t have to turn people away with “non-essential” needs, only to have to hold their hands as they die later from preventable causes. Other nurses complain of endless boredom in their of empty hospitals, while their bosses tell the media that their hospital is overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients. They make sure to ask me never to mention their names publicly because they have been told they would be fired for speaking about this with anyone outside the hospital.
  • – As someone who has professional training in—and having worked in—journalism, I have watched as news media on both sides of the political spectrum have lost the core purpose of what they are supposed to do: report the facts. Having been trained in how to detect propaganda, I have watched as most major news sources have reported things that I personally know (or come to know) are false or misleading, the only consistent thing being that they are uncritically supportive of the government in power. As “the fifth estate”, they have by and large abandoned their duty to hold our leaders publicly accountable for the way they lead.
  • – I have watched once-close communities and families begin to turn on each other, spewing hateful rhetoric back and forth, as if marinating ourselves in such vitriol would help us overcome these issues. It has done nothing but cause more pain and hatred.
  • – There have been a sharp increase in public displays of anger against some minority groups, and I listened to people who are nervous to go outside, not because of the virus of Covid-19, but because of the virus of discrimination.
  • – I have watched our government leaders lead the charge in dividing the country, spewing hate, and speaking lies. 
  • – I have observed, at every step of the way, opportunistic haters using every event they can to cause pain and promote evil. 
  • – I have watched as law after law comes into effect without debate and sometimes without even going to the house of commons. What once was a free and democratic nation now bears little resemblance to anything I would deem a functioning democracy. 
  • – I have spent hours on the phone with people losing their jobs, wondering how they are going to provide for their families, because they did not want to be vaccinated.
  • – There have been more injustices than I am able to count. While it has always been important for the church to stand against injustice, to help serve others, and to be a voice that speaks truth to power, I have watched as far too many Christians have placed their hope and faith in a political process instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
  • – When winning a political victory, I have watched more rejoicing from the church than I see when they talk of the joy of salvation. I have also witnessed more despondency at political turmoil than there is brokenness over their own sins. 

Friends, I am not a politician nor do I endeavour to become one. My heart is broken on so many levels for the state of affairs in our nation, province, and community. Most of all, my heart is broken for how distracted many of us have become—myself included—by the proverbial dumpster fire that Canada has become. This has distracted us from the freedom, peace, and joy that come from a relationship with the living God.

Most of all, my heart is broken for how distracted many of us have become—myself included—by the proverbial dumpster fire that Canada has become. This has distracted us from the freedom, peace, and joy that come from a relationship with the living God.

-Kevin Wiebe

The prophet Jeremiah offers some helpful thoughts from Lamentations 3:19-23. In the aftermath of the fall of his nation, he writes, “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

While I am not a politician, I am a pastor, and a huge part of my job is to simply point people to God again and again. I point people to a God who offers us eternal hope. The prophet Zechariah wrote about being a prisoner of hope. When we are followers of Jesus, there is always a reason to hope. This is a God-given gift, an unfailing right that we hold as children of God. To be more accurate, it is the hope of God that seems to hold us no matter what we are going through. More on that HERE.

Yes, I think it is good for our government to be held accountable for the way their actions have inflicted immense amounts of suffering. I also think it is high time for us Christians to return again to the Lord, to remember where our hope actually comes from, and to revel in the freedom we have in Christ that no Prime Minister or Premier or Tyrant or Czar can ever take away.

Instead of bathing our minds in the vitriol of social media, let us marinate our souls in the Word of God; let us quiet our hearts so we might hear the voice of the Spirit, and let us rest in the truth of God’s great love for us. After that, let’s take a look around at the damage in our land, and pick someone to bless in some way. Instead of spreading hate, let us spread the love of God however the Lord leads us to do so. 

And remember, there is hope.

If you are not a person of faith but would like to hear more about the hope that God offers to all of humanity, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Kevin Wiebe

Kevin Wiebe is the Senior Pastor of New Life Christian and the author of the book Faithful in Small Things. He is married to Emily and they have three children and live near Tilbury, Ontario. Kevin hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Providence University College, as well as a Certificate in Conflict Management and Congregational Leadership from Conrad Grebel University College.

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