As 2020 draws to a close, it will truly be an unforgettable year for all of us. The events of this year will leave a permanent mark in our lives. As the pandemic continues to ravage across the world, many of us are still struggling to make the necessary adjustments in things large and small; from working remotely and learning to use Zoom to coping with the loss of loved ones and friends or the loss of jobs and depletion of financial resources. Hence, as we cross the threshold into a new year, we hope and pray for better days ahead.

In the early days of the lockdown during the Movement Control Order, I received a call from Dr. John Ng of Eagles Communications in Singapore. At the end of the conversation, he reminded me, “Don’t Waste A Crisis“.

These four words had stayed with me during these challenging times. In Wycliffe Malaysia,
even as we grapple with the challenges of Bible translation work in the year of the pandemic, we can tell ourselves not to waste this crisis. 

In Isaiah 6:1, it reads, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up.” 

King Uzziah was one of the better kings of Israel though he ended his life as a leper when he took on the forbidden priestly functions. As he sat on the throne for 52 years and walked righteously for most parts of his reign, Isaiah undoubtedly derived much security and comfort from serving a king who feared the Lord. Hence, when King Uzziah died, it represented a period of much turmoil and uncertainty for the nation. A time of gloom and doom. A year filled with anxiety, stress, tension and worry. And yet, it was in that year, that Isaiah was given a vision of heaven and he saw the Lord still sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up. In the midst of trouble and calamities, our Lord still reigns sovereignly over every affair of our lives. He is still in total control. 

In the year 2020, we need to keep our spiritual eyes focused on our Sovereign Lord. Even as our handphone screens bring foreboding news of rising numbers of new COVID 19 cases or as we hear of people losing their jobs or businesses being closed down due to the pandemic, let us fix our hearts on God. Or, as Wycliffe members face health challenges, disruption in their Bible translation work or dwindling financial support, we can look to God for comfort and provision. 

Like the hymnwriter says, 

Be Thou My Vision,
O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me,
save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought,
by day and by night,
Waking or sleeping,
Thy presence my light

Even as Wycliffe members continue to do the challenging work of Bible translation in difficult places; and adjusting to the many changing landscapes due to the pandemic, may God’s presence continue to light our way in the journey ahead.

It is only as we keep our minds and hearts fixed on God that He gives us His perfect peace; and freshness and joy of spirit to continue to reflect Him to the world around us.

Perhaps the best translation of Scriptures is still the life lived humbly in the presence of God.

Don’t Waste A Crisis. This may be the best year yet for all of us to catch a fresh glimpse of God sitting upon the throne and like Isaiah we can say, “Here I am! Send me.