Times Like These

A reflection from Just Thinking magazine editor Danielle DuRant.

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As Just Thinking 28.3 goes to press, a pandemic that knows no borders is sweeping across the globe and altering the lives of all in its wake—rich, poor, young, old. This novel coronavirus, named COVID-19, has rapidly precipitated a paradigm shift of tectonic proportions. The pendulum swing from the “most connected” time in history to social distancing and quarantines has affected every sector of society. From Main Street to 10 Downing Street, from the homeless to world leaders, no one is immune.

“We are living through a unique, era-defining period,” writes John Lennox in his new book, Where Is God in a Coronavirus World? “Many of our old certainties have gone, whatever our view of the world and whatever our beliefs. Whether you are a Christian or not, the coronavirus pandemic is perplexing and unsettling for all of us.”

Purchase John's book.

Where is God in a Coronavirus World?

We are living through a unique, era-defining period. The coronavirus pandemic and its effects are perplexing and unsettling for all of us. How do we begin to think it through and cope with it?

A few evenings ago out in my yard, and out of the blue, a hymn came to mind that I haven’t sung in probably thirty years:

In times like these we need a Savior
I
n times like these we need an anchor.
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

While the simple song seemed to drag on when I was a young adult, some older church members sung it in earnest. I recently discovered the lyrics were written during World War II. George Beverly Shea and Mahalia Jackson sang it before audiences across the globe. As the story goes, the shattering headlines of war prompted Ruth Caye Jones, a pastor’s wife, to search her Bible and pen “In Times Like These.”

“Be very sure,” Jones implores again, urging us,

In times like these we need the Bible.
In times like these O be not idle.
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

Perhaps “Be very sure” is a declaration of a bygone era. In times like these, as John Lennox suggests, “Many of our old certainties have gone.” Inside this issue of Just Thinking is a selection from his new book. Other writings wrestle with questions of heartache and hope when God seems far away. In the feature article, Ravi Zacharias looks at the uniqueness of Jesus and his tender ministry, especially compared to Eastern gurus, in a lengthy excerpt from his new book, Seeing Jesus from the East (coauthored with Abdu Murray).

Purchase Ravi's new book.

Seeing Jesus from the East

Ravi Zacharias and Abdu Murray capture a revitalized gospel message through an Eastern lens, revealing its power afresh and sharing the truth about Jesus in a compelling and winsome light.

In his closing Think Again column—and from his hospital room—Ravi remains steadfast, reminding us, “The Bible assures us that at all times God is with us. He is our comforter; He is our healer. He is our physician; He is our provider. He knows better than we do.”

So also the psalmist David, who knew great blessing and sorrow, enjoins us with these words of old,

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us (Psalm 62:8).

Danielle DuRant is Director of Research and Writing at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. This article was published in the 28.3 edition of Just Thinking magazine. To view the magazine in its entirety, click here.

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