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16 Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love;
    in your great mercy turn to me.
17 Do not hide your face from your servant;
    answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.
18 Come near and rescue me;
    deliver me because of my foes. (Psalm 69:16-18)

In mid-May, I visited a 70-year-old sister.  This is a daring gesture as we are to practice social distancing and curb visits to other households during the COVID-19 pandemic, but because of the sister’s spiritual needs, I asked for her permission and we met “cautiously”!

The sister lives alone and rents a place near our church while her daughter and son-in-law live abroad. She has always been a cheerful person but has recently become more and more unhappy! She feels that her neighbors are bullying her as they want to get rid of her so that they can take over her place. She is complaining that her neighbors were working at home so loudly that they keep her awake at night and causes her to have frequent headaches. She is beginning to suspect that her daughter has forgotten about her and does not care about the situation and difficulties she is going through...

I listened to her statements and realized that some of them might be misperceptions, and some of her emotions may have manifested because of lengthy isolation. I was could not think of any comforting words off the top of my head. I am not a psychotherapist who can use therapeutic behavioural model to guide her, and I am not a judge who can clarify the facts with her. However, suddenly, I understood her feeling of being surrounded by opposition, the feeling of humiliation, the feeling of being forgotten by family... We sat down in a corner of the room, and the sun was shining through, falling on the windowsill. Before God, we cried out with one heart for God’s love (V. 16), for His righteousness (V. 17), for God given salvation (v. 18), and even more loudly for His mercy, that He rescues her from the hands of her enemies, and release her from the feeling of being trapped on all sides.  Further, please let her not be disappointed in spite of all the difficulties. We are weak, but God would never forsake us; we may be alone, but God sympathizes with us.

As I was leaving, the sister said, she recalled taking the bus yesterday. She saw that under the bridge there were many temporary tents housing the homeless because thy have lost their ability to earn an income. She finally realized that God had been watching over her and protecting her. Although the place she is renting is noisy, but it gives her a roof over her head, and protects her from the cold and rain. Although her daughter is abroad, she is able to take care of her own family without her having to worry about her.

Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for through Him we have rebirth. He sacrificed on the cross for our sins, removed all our burdens, turned into joy and dance, replaced sorrow with praise, made the oppressed free, filled the discouraged with hope again! May all glory and praise be to Him!