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Thought for the weekend

Rev Gareth Burke, Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast

When will the schools return? When will the hairdresser open? What about church services? When will I get back to work? When will the family be able to visit me indoors? When will lockdown finally end?

These are questions that we are repeatedly asking at this time, and the reality is that for every one of these questions, the safe answer is that we don't know.

Everything is uncertain. We like to know exact dates and details and find it hard to cope with all the uncertainty of the strange time in which we live.

There is something very unique about the present time, yet when we look into history, there have been moments in the past when crises have engulfed the globe.

Men and women have experienced their own personal version of lockdown, during which they have been restricted in their movements and have faced huge uncertainty about their futures.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi when he was under house arrest in Rome.

He was waiting for his case to come before Caesar, to whom he had appealed.

His lockdown continued for around two years as he waited for his case to be heard.

There was huge uncertainty as to when the trial would take place and what the outcome would be.

When we read Philippians chapter one, it is clear that there was great uncertainty over the outcome - Paul would either be set fee or put to death.

How did the great missionary Apostle cope with his time of lockdown?

He tells us that he focused on the things that really mattered.

For him, the big thing was to live for Jesus every day, regardless of his personal circumstances. He declared, "For me, to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). I think we can learn from him.

If you have turned from your sin and are trusting in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, then it would be worthwhile following Paul's example.

If we are Christians, then we should live for Jesus today, lockdown or no lockdown. We should seek to honour Him with our lives and make Him known to others. Our motto should forever be, for me, to live is Christ.

Belfast Telegraph