Marian Shek—Leicester, UK
Back in December 2019, we could never have imagined how COVID-19 would transform the world so utterly, and so swiftly. Our notion of normality has been upended, economies have seized up, social unrest and inequalities have been exacerbated, and, most tragically, lives have been cut short by this virus. In late September, the world passed a sobering milestone—over 1 million COVID-19 deaths reported worldwide.
The world has faced era-defining crises before—but nothing on such a truly global scale. Behind the catastrophic statistics are hidden the many millions of smaller, personal tragedies brought on or intensified by lockdown—untreated illness, stress and anxiety, isolation, tensions at home, disintegrating social bonds, financial insecurity, future uncertainty, and many more unforeseen consequences over the horizon. We are truly in the day of trouble.
In March 2020, as the first wave of coronavirus infections surged in the West, the Manna team decided to put together an unscheduled special issue around the pandemic and its impact on believers. Christians are certainly facing the same challenges as everyone else, and we may wonder why God puts us through these tribulations, both collectively and individually.
The Bible is overflowing with teachings on the correct view of such situations, and how we should respond when we find ourselves in the day of trouble. In this issue, we explore these teachings through three sub-themes.
Firstly, in the day of trouble, we should reflect, repent and return to our sovereign Lord (Jer 4:1, 4; 29:13–14; 31:18; Joel 2:12–13); secondly, we can, and should, find peace in God to face all hardships (Isa 30:15; Phil 4:6–7); and finally, we should be refined through our afflictions, and use this God-given time to draw closer to Him through spiritual cultivation—to pursue spiritual transformation (Ps 66:10; Isa 48:10; Zech 13:9; 2 Cor 12:7–10; Jas 1:2–4).
The LORD is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble;
And He knows those who trust in Him. (Nah 1:7)
Come, and let us return to the LORD;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up. (Hos 6:1)
Many of us in the True Jesus Church have already experienced the truth of these verses amid the turmoil of this pandemic, as witnessed in the reports, testimonies, and reflections found in the following pages. We can truly attest to God’s faithfulness and mercy upon His beloved children in times of trial, and see that God has His plan for us (Jer 29:11; Rom 8:28).
While this pandemic has taken away many things, it has provided opportunities for personal growth, spiritual cultivation and re-evaluating our service to God. It has also brought to the fore the things that really matter—our physical and mental health, our family bonds, fellowship with brethren, worshiping in spirit and truth, and, most importantly, our relationship with God.
As we go to print, many countries have re-entered national lockdown under the crushing resurgence of COVID-19, which scientists predict will be more severe than the initial wave of infections. Since we do not know how this crisis will unfold in the coming months and years, we can only prayerfully submit and entrust our lives to the One who knows all things, and works all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28).
In this day of trouble, let us never forget the lessons we have learned, and let us never return to the way things were before. May this fiery trial be the crucible in which we are transformed for good.
 “WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard,” World Health Organization, covid19.who.int.