As written by President Leonard Woo, Singapore Mission President, himself.
Everything happens for a reason even though most people would struggle to see the reason when they are in the midst of the event. The current COVID 19 pandemic is a cataclysmic event of global magnitude. For God to allow it to happen, surely there are some important “reasons” that God wants us to see and to learn from it.
With carnal eyes or worldly perspectives, most of us will see only the obvious – overwhelmed hospitals and medical systems, unprecedented economic upheavals, growing unemployment, disruptions to travel, work, personal lives, and uncertainty, even death for those infected with the virus. Many who are discouraged by the upheaval, disruptions and uncertainty hope and pray for a quick resolution – for a miracle vaccine to appear quickly.
As God’s covenant people, we need to discover God’s reasons for allowing this pandemic to happen and what we can learn from it. There are many reasons or lessons to be learned, but I wish to share just four that had impressed me:
1) There is a need to learn and more productively use the powerful remote communication technology that God has revealed to hasten and increase our effectiveness in the work of salvation. It is amazing that most of these audio and video technologies such as Whatsapp, Skype, Zoom and Teams are available at no cost. This means the poor can have access to it. Distance, lack of good public transportation, time and other issues have, in the past, prevented many leaders in poorer units of the Church from holding their regular branch council meetings. Now they can do so with ease without the need to travel, extra cost or excessive use of their time.
2) The world usually defines success as accumulating more, doing more or doing things faster. God often finds ways to slow us down so that we can “hear” and “see” the things that truly matter. Value should always precede haste. COVID 19 has significantly slowed the world down, allowing us more time for reflections, for associations with the people closest to us, and to see life’s many daily activities in perhaps a different perspective. The desired result is for all to achieve a greater peace and harmony with self, family and society. We hope that many will now ponder “meaning of life questions” which will prepare their minds to receive saving gospel messages. In addition, as Church members slow down, and as the noises of the world are reduced, Church members should be better able to “Hear Him”.
3) This global pandemic helps us appreciate the prophetic power of our Latter-day Prophets. Everything that our Prophets have directed in the last few years have prepared us for this pandemic – “Home Centered, Church Supported program”, “Come Follow Me lessons”, “Two hours simplified Sunday Service”, “New Ministering Program which allowed ministering using technology”, “Self -reliance and food storage”, etc. From Amos 3:7, we learn that “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” This should increase our resolve to pay close attention to the words of our living prophets.
4) The world’s activities may come to a halt, but the important God’s work of salvation moves on, uninterrupted. I was very impressed with the proceedings of the last General Conference. Despite an empty conference center and closures of all temples and meetinghouses, we continued to receive revelations from those assigned to speak, blessed with a Bicentennial Proclamation to the World of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, heard the announcement of eight new temples including temples in Dubai and Shanghai where the Church has less presence. While the world is in a troubled and melancholy mood, we raised our voices, globally together to praise God in the Hosanna Shout!
I invite each of you to ponder and reflect on your own personal thoughts and experiences during the last few months to find your own insights and understanding as to why God has allowed this pandemic to happen. I am confident that your life’s focus, direction and purpose will improve as you seek personal revelations and answers for the things that God wants you and your family to learn and gain from this COVID 19 pandemic.