Message No. 1 To Seekers, Doubters and Unbelievers in Coronavirus Times
Hello! My name is Harry and I’m the pastor of Warsaw International Church – Warsaw being the capital of Poland. I’ve been wanting to record messages for those seeking to find out more about the Christian faith, or for people who, perhaps like you, are even unbelievers, but for some reason have found yourself on the receiving end of this message.
Message No. 1: Who Can Help Me?
Why we do things is a mystery to us. I myself often browse through all kinds of different websites and end up at many unexpected locations, where I might find something of interest to me. If our minds are open, we can really educate ourselves on the Internet. I’m also aware that you could be from any place on earth – and that the only thing we have in common is a knowledge of the English language. That’s enough to communicate! Perhaps, apart from just browsing, you have a real interest in our church. Maybe you have some connection with Poland or Warsaw. Maybe you’re just wondering what Christians believe in. Maybe you have problems of your own that you can’t resolve, and are looking for answers.
The whole world has been turned upside down these past few months. Everybody has been taken by surprise by a totally unexpected catastrophe, the full effects of which are yet to be seen. At first, there was a sense that it would all be over quickly, and people weren’t bothered too much about it. But now, matters are very serious, and more and more of us are being touched in one way or another. We may have been infected ourselves – or our relatives perhaps. We may have had our work salaries cut back, or even lost our jobs. We may be suffering any one of a hundred different consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, and the situation still seems to be getting worse.
All this is placing an ever-increasing stress on us. We’re starting to ask questions like: Why is this happening? Does God exist? If so, why is He allowing this? Is this the beginning of the end of the world? What do Christians believe about this? And dozens of other questions. We’re asking questions many of us had never asked before. Many of us have lived comfortable lives for so long, that we’re now finding it stressful to cope with the uncertainty that the coronavirus has brought with it. We ask: What will happen to me? What will become of my plans? Is my philosophy of life the true one? What happens if I suddenly fall ill and start suffocating? Is there more than just this life? If God exists, what does He think of me? Will He accept me, or condemn me? Have I scored enough points and done enough good deeds to be accepted by Him when I die?
When I was much younger, I would ask myself such questions. I tried to persuade myself that God does not exist. If God didn’t exist, then it would make almost everything much easier to explain. I would have thought that, by an amazing coincidence, I came into this world, would luckily live a long and happy life, and then hopefully die a gentle death, and that would be the end of me. Very simple, modern thinking.
But there was one issue that kept paralyzing me: my own death. I knew that the years would pass by gradually, and then I myself would be like those helpless elderly people in care homes. When I looked at them, I saw myself in the future – and then I too would die. I personally couldn’t contemplate the idea of ceasing to exist completely. It didn’t make sense to me. I arrive in the world by chance; I learn to live, to laugh, to love, to make music. And then I die, and it’s all over. Crazy.
I also grappled with a purely philosophical question. The world that I see around me: does it actually exist as I see it? Am I just a walking creature with two holes in my face – my eyes – a sort of window through which I see the world? Or is everything I see a creation of my mind? Is the world outside me, or within my brain? I still don’t know the answer to that. If you asked me, I would say: both. The thought amazes me.
These nagging questions made me determined to find out the truth for myself; and I wasn’t going to be side-tracked by what even the most well-meaning friends or relatives wanted me to believe. I spent so much time reading all about the different religions and philosophies of life. When I say “religions”, I don’t mean how they are practised – I mean what they teach in their holy books. I realized they couldn’t all be true; and I had to decide what was true and what was false, no matter where it took me. The one thing I’ve always had is a passion for the truth, and a willingness to admit I am wrong. If you have such an attitude, you already have a lot going for you!
The only teaching that made any sense to me was that in the Bible – and at first, not even the Old Testament part of it. It was the New Testament that attracted me – that part of the Bible which tells about Jesus. It was obvious to me that Jesus is the central element of Christianity: no Jesus, no Christian faith. I was fascinated by Jesus. So I started reading the New Testament for myself – I didn’t want anyone to influence me. I wanted to arrive at my own conclusions. That’s why I think it’s a shame that the Bible is forbidden by many governments. It gives the impression, rightly or wrongly, that they don’t want their own people to think for themselves.
Dear Friend, in today’s message I want to draw your attention to Jesus. I hope you come to the same conclusion that I did – that no other historical person compares with Him. I also hope you realize that one day, perhaps even sooner than you think, it will be time for you to die. Will you simply cease to exist? Are you so sure there is nothing more? Supposing there is something more – are you ready for it? What’s really going on inside you, behind the confident expression on your face? Are you really like that impression you give other people of being – good, kind, unselfish? Are you really like that? Or are you more of a mess deep down – self-centred, aware of your many sins and wrongdoings, concealing secrets you’d prefer other people not to know about? One day you may have to account for them to God.
Preview of Next Message
In my next message, Message No. 2, I shall take a closer look at Jesus: who He is, what He did, and what Christians believe about Him. There’s a lot of ground to cover, because Jesus Christ mysteriously draws a person who’s interested in Him closer and closer into a living relationship with Him. This relationship turns out to be what is most essential in Christianity: a personal faith in Jesus Christ. And yes, you guessed it: it’s a faith in Jesus not as a dead man who died 2,000 years ago, but as someone who is still very much alive. May God bless you, and thank you for listening.