This week's Community Column is written by local Church of Scotland minister, Rev Christine Murdoch.

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In times of crisis people sometimes ask, “Did God send this crisis to punish us?”

In the Bible Jesus makes it clear that there is no link between ill-heath or disability and sin (John chapter 9, verse 2). Nevertheless, I also believe there is a difference between punishment and living with the consequences of our actions.

As a child, having tar scrubbed off my skin was a consequence of the day I sat and picked stones out of the newly laid tar on the road where I lived. The punishment was being sent to bed early and not allowed out to play on a lovely sunny evening!

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God does not punish us, yet humanity does have to live with the consequences of how we live and the decisions we make, both collectively and individually.

One of my favourite texts from the Bible, says: “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God” (Romans ch8, v28). For me that means when disaster strikes and crises come, God will work things out in the end.

That does not necessarily mean everything will be miraculously made better. However, it does mean we will be given the resources to help us through the crisis and those resources may well be found within ourselves.

The phrase “resting in the Lord” helps me through dark days. It reminds me to stop, to pause, to seek the quiet centre, to pray and to turn to God’s word and find the help and strength I need to face what lies ahead.

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It does not take the crisis away, yet it helps me journey through it.

Already we are seeing good coming out of this time of lockdown and I hope and pray that those good things will continue as we rebuild our lives.

If there is one good thing you have learned or experienced during the Covid-19 crisis, what is it? How can you build that into your life when we begin to move forward again?

* Christine Murdoch is the minister at the Church of Scotland's Lochside Linkage – Garelochhead Parish Church, St Modan's Parish Church in Rosneath, and Craigrownie Parish Church in Kilcreggan.

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