To Whom Shall We Go: Faith Responses In A Time Of Crisis

Written by: Dr Ernest F Crocker Fracp

To Whom Shall We Go: Faith Responses In A Time Of Crisis
REVIEW AND ENDORSEMENT- DR ERNEST F CROCKER FRACP

Few would have suspected in 2019 that within just a few months our world would be thrown into turmoil by the Covid pandemic. That by April 2021, 2,943,000 people would have died, and 136,000,000 have contracted this dreadful disease.

As Christians we have asked ourselves, why did God allow this to happen?   Will we and our loved ones survive?  As Christians how should we respond? Will our lives ever return to normal and if so, what will that ‘new normal’ look like?

To Whom Shall We Go: Faith Responses in a Time of Crisis, editors Irene Alexander and Christopher Brown, addresses all of these questions and more. The contributing authors, most of whom form a group called the ‘Holy scribblers’,[1] comprise a disparate alliance of people from diverse backgrounds including medicine, social work, the law, economics, physics, spiritual counselling and missions. Each addresses the question of how to lead a faith filled life in times of this present crisis.

In each chapter, we are encouraged to examine and to adopt the promises of the beatitudes in the context of God’s plan for these latter days.   Christopher Brown identifies the beatitudes as gifts of the Holy Spirit. He states that the disquiet, disturbance and downcast state of our soul reveals an intrinsic yearning for the living God and that as we attune our soul to Him, His Spirit comes along side responding to our deepest needs.

Brown and Ringma examine the changes that are wrought upon us by loss of normal routine isolation and deprivation. Although this may provide opportunity for prayerful introspection and future planning, it is often accompanied by a deep sense of loss and mourning that can only be salved  by the comforting hand of God’s Holy spirit.

Although much has been achieved in the realm of scientific advancement, Professor Ross McKenzie reminds us that all scientific discovery is born of ignorance and lack of understanding. The COVID pandemic has reinforced in our minds how little we know.    But humility is a spiritual resource and as we humble ourselves before God yielding to His greater wisdom, so we increase our knowledge.  As Kepler said, ‘I am merely thinking God’s thoughts after Him’.

In times of crisis, we look to God for mercy and long to extend this to others also. Yet the   understanding of our own needs and   of the needs others may be incorrect. Tim McGowan looks again to Jesus’ example and encourages us to watch and pray. Jesus’ surrender to His Fathers desire in the garden of Gethsemane, he says, challenges us to wait prayerfully on God and to listen for the Spirit until our desires are aligned with His.

Dr Paul Mercer considers Jesus’ words that ‘the pure in heart will see God’. Drawing from his wide experience as a busy general practitioner, he describes how the various stresses induced by the rising and flattening of the COVID curve have drawn us away from healthy and Godly practices. It is only by considering these words in the context of the risen, victorious Christ   that we may be drawn back into the thought processes and practices that will sustain us and others through every life situation.

Christopher Brown speaks of the vital role of Peace makers, those who are prepared to take on the burdens of others, to hear them out and in so doing to allow them to discover for themselves ‘A place of calm amid the storm’ as they draw near to the one who banishes their fears, comforts and assures them.

Charles Ringma states that as Christians we are not isolated from challenge and persecution. Rather, the higher that we advance in the Spirit the heavier may be the crosses that we bear. We are citizens of the world and of the kingdom of heaven, and herein lies a tension.  An appropriate threefold response might be ‘an upward movement in the worship of God’, ‘an inward movement in terms of spiritual transformation’, and an ‘outward movement to challenge the status quo and bring about healing and renewal’

Sarah Nicholl suggests that the quiet place, the ‘wardrobe’ of the Narnia series is the ‘war room’ in which to address the issues that press in upon us.   In so doing she supports the hypothesis put forward by   Tim McGowan, that we should wait patiently on the Lord until our desires are aligned with Him.

Irene Alexander quotes Cyprian of Carthage who when faced with the terrifying plague of 250AD confessed that the plague exposed how people viewed their lives in relation to God. ‘By unmasking the lesser things for which we crave,’ she said, ‘this pandemic may call us back to living a life more focussed on the kingdom of God, the vulnerable way of Jesus.’

We have looked to advice from experts in many fields to guide us through the maelstrom of this pandemic. And that is as it should be. Yet so often the advice has been conflicting, contributing to confusion, lack of understanding and the generation of a sea of sceptics.

Yet the contributors to this book, as diverse as they might be, have sought wisdom from the one who is able to lead us through, and provide the answers that we seek, even Jesus.  They have addressed mental health issues generated by loss and mourning, and by the disquiet and disturbance instilled by loss of routine, purpose and direction.  They have defined how to find peace within ourselves, and how to reach out to others by following the words of Jesus.

They have presented a threefold means of providing a spiritual and practical response to bring healing and renewal to this troubled world. They have also suggested that by humility we may find the greater wisdom to develop the means to overcome this pandemic.

I have found To Whom Shall We Go: Faith Responses in a Time of Crisis?  To be an intensely practical book offering spiritual advice at a level often not encountered nowadays. The words of Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever will lead us through and beyond this present crisis to a safe haven. As Peter said, ‘where else can we go? You have the words of eternal life’

I strongly recommend this book to all readers seeking greater insight, direction and purpose as they meet the challenges of today.

Commendation/Endorsement
Few would have suspected in 2019 that within just a few months our world would be thrown into turmoil by the Covid pandemic.  As Christians we have asked ourselves, why did God allow this to happen?   Will we   survive?  Will our lives ever return to normal and if so, what will that ‘new normal’ look like?

To Whom Shall We Go: Faith Responses in a Time of Crisis, addresses these questions and more. The authors, most of whom form a group called the ‘Holy scribblers’,[2] comprise a disparate band of people from diverse backgrounds including medicine, social work, the law, economics, physics, spiritual counselling and missions. Each   addresses the question of how to lead a faith filled life in times of this present crisis.

We are encouraged to examine and to adopt the promises of the beatitudes in the context of God’s plan for these latter days by the power of His Holy Spirit   The disquiet, disturbance and downcast state of our soul reveals an intrinsic yearning for the living God.   When we attune our soul to Him, His Spirit comes along side responding to our deepest needs.

We have looked to advice from experts in many fields to guide us through the maelstrom of this pandemic.   Yet so often the advice has been conflicting, contributing to confusion, lack of understanding and the generation of a sea of sceptics.  Yet the contributors to this book, as diverse as they may be, have sought wisdom from the one who is able to lead us through, and provide the answers that we seek, even Jesus.

I found To Whom Shall We Go: Faith Responses in a Time of Crisis?  an intensely practical book offering spiritual advice at a level often not encountered nowadays. The words of Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever will lead us through and beyond this present crisis.   As Peter said, ‘where else can we go? You have the words of eternal life’

I strongly recommend this book to all readers seeking greater insight, direction and purpose as they meet the challenges of today.

Dr Ernest Frank Crocker BSc (Med) MBBS FRACP DDU FAANMS

Author:
Nine Minutes Past Midnight.
When Oceans Roar.
The Man in White.

Mob: 0404 001 945
ernestcrocker.com

[1] Holyscribblers.blogspot.com
[2] Holyscribblers.blogspot.com

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