On Canada Day in past years there were celebrations in every municipality. A sea of red and white everywhere you went – banners and flags flying. Happy people enjoying parades, picnics, musical performances, fireworks. People wore Canada T-Shirts and hats with the maple leaf or flag. Even in the malls there were smiles and the sound of friendly chatter and laughter.

Our Fathers, uncles and even grandfathers fought in the World Wars to protect the freedoms that we so often take for granted. Freedom of movement, of speech, of worship gatherings.

Then came COVID. Suddenly we were in a battle against a fast moving virus that was affecting every country in the world, killing thousands. We lost our freedom of movement, no longer allowed to go where we wanted to go, when and with whom. We were basically confined to our homes and when we did go out for necessities or to walk for exercise, we were instructed to wear masks and keep 6 feet apart from others. Fear took over and paralyzed our nation. Families didn’t see each other for over a year and people were so afraid, some wouldn’t even get on an elevator if somebody else was in it. Stores and restaurants and churches were closed. Businesses adapted to having their employees work from home. Our social activities that we took so much for granted were gone! We were basically in isolation. Praise God that we had technology that enabled us to communicate with each other electronically via computers and WiFi.

On this July 1, 2021 we are slowly and steadily starting to regain some of these privileges. Things are opening up, church is about to resume in person, stores and restaurants have reopened and there is a sense of hope. But in Canada there is still no celebrations. The discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools has caused a great wave of grief to overwhelm us. In BC, fires are sweeping across our Interior and Okanagan areas, destroying forests, homes, businesses, and taking lives. Today there are somber faces, no wearing red lest you offend somebody.

So many ask “Where are you God? If you are a loving and merciful God, why are you allowing these things to happen?”

As I ponder this, my God tells me in His word “Do not fear, I am with you, my ways are not your ways. Trust Me!” Humans have only finite minds. We cannot see the big picture of what God is doing in the world. But as His child I know He is in control. I need to focus on Him and let Him do His transformational work in me so that I might be a more useful channel – privileged to serve Him in the building of His kingdom, reaching out to others with love, kindness and encouragement. My heart and mind say “Yes Lord to your will and to your way”. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak.

Please Holy Spirit help your children to exercise those attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit – wisdom, strength, courage and endurance –that will enable us to face the challenges you bring into our lives. May the leaders of Canada realize that without God there is no flourishing future for this nation. May they seek your will as they try to restore our faith and freedoms. We sing “God keep our land glorious and free” but do we really mean it? Do we believe it? Renew a right spirit within us Father for our good and for your honor and glory!