During October a set of seven reflections I wrote were featured in Rejoice magazine. The theme of the issue was Faith in the City. Here is one of my reflections.
O God you have tested us. . . . Yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
Psalm 66: 10-12
Read: Psalm 66: 1-12
Reflect: We moved to Hong Kong when the city was still reeling from the SARS epidemic. People had become virtual prisoners in their homes. Medical professionals who had risked their lives caring for SARS patients remained isolated from their own families. Businesses were recording millions in losses. Real estate prices had plummeted. Tourism had ground to a halt.
Students and teachers at our school during SARS
Schools, places of worship, restaurants, and concert halls had shut their doors. People in our Hong Kong church said SARS was a time when the faith of many was severely tested.
Hong Kong street sweeper
Yet during the six years we lived in Hong Kong, we watched the city make a remarkable recovery. Expanded sanitation and security departments quickly restored its reputation as a clean, safe place. Slowly the tourism industry blossomed and the economy improved.
Chestnut vendors in Hong Kong
Schools, temples, churches and cultural venues reopened and people confidently returned to the routines of daily life.
Verses 10-12 of Psalm 66 describe a time of severe testing for the community of God’s people. They have been through fire and water. They have been forced to bear heavy burdens. They have felt trapped. Psalm 66 is a prayer of thanksgiving because God has delivered the people from their time of testing and led them to a place of spaciousness and calm.
Cities, like the community of God’s people in Psalm 66, often go through times of testing. It may be a natural disaster, political unrest, or a medical emergency. The psalmist encourages people to remember to draw close to God as they go through hard times. God can lead them to a more peaceful place.
Hong Kong Inspiration
Chestnuts Roasting in Hong Kong