How God gave us a new song for those who fear the coronavirus
Cheryl Lai // January 30, 2020, 5:10 pm
Against the backdrop of uncertainty, friends Cheryl Lai and Serene Chng have collaborated on《不要惧怕 – 抗炎歌》to encourage people not to be anxious, but to stand together in battling the Wuhan novel coronavirus. Released on 彩虹的幸福 (@rainbowjoychinese), Cheryl shares why she felt compelled to write the song.
It started when we first received a public letter from a Wuhan church (original letter in Chinese here) through WhatsApp. While browsing social media, I also came across a lengthy Facebook post by Good TV that called for earnest prayer.
The prayer song moved my heart. It was a song about a great need. It made me realise that the virus outbreak was not just a medical nor hygiene situation. It was causing great agony and devastation to people.
Many seem to be engaged in an intellectual debate over the situation, but the reality is that we don’t have all the answers we wish we have. We’re dealing with a novel virus, and the panic on the ground is real, even as our leaders and our rational minds tell us to stay calm.
I tried to imagine the thoughts that would be running through the minds of those awaiting quarantine or patients undergoing treatment. For those on the frontline – doctors, nurses, airport staff, border guards – what would they be thinking about?
And what about all of us? What does everyone need at this time? What message would speak to our deepest need?
God then spoke these words to me: “do not fear, do not be anxious”. I quickly penned down the first eight chinese words “不要惧怕 不要丧胆” And then the next nine words came along. And the next and the next. In about 10 to 15 minutes the two verses were formed.
In a situation like this, there’s a tendency for people to demand quick solutions, take matters into our own hands, or find a scapegoat to blame. But what we really need is comfort and hope, forgiveness and mercy, as experts race against time to find a cure or a vaccine to curb the situation, and as everyone else does their part.
Many are labouring tirelessly in the midst of this outbreak; we need to rally together against our common enemy, which is the virus. There have been many knee-jerk reactions that can be hurtful and potentially cause resentment. Their divisive nature is not helpful in bringing people together to combat the virus.
No amount of fear will drive us anywhere closer to better coping with the situation.
I began my song with “do not fear, do not lose hope” to bring home the point right from the start. Many feel a deep sense of fear that’s uneasy to talk about. Our fear of the unknown escalates every day when we turn to the news and watch the numbers of confirmed cases rise.
But no amount of fear will drive us anywhere closer to better coping with the situation. Only by coming alongside one another knowing that we’re not fighting the battle alone, reaching out to others and having empathy (同理), can we break free from fear, renew our strength and rebuild our faith.
English lyrics for 《不要惧怕 – 抗炎歌》
Do not fear do not lose heart
Fight on someone is walking with you
Through the trials and by your side
Do not let worries weigh you down
With one mind we move forward
Your empathy renews my strength
We fight this virus with great courage
For our labour is not in vain
The lyrics call for people not to fear or be discouraged, but to walk together. Serene then added on the Bible verse from Joshua 1:9 to capture the message in the lyrics.
“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“不要惧怕，也不要惊惶；因为你无论往哪里去，耶和华—你的 神必与你同在。」” 约书亚记 1:9
We hope that this song will reach more people who need to hear it, and that they will be comforted and strengthened.
Serene and I have uploaded the video onto 彩虹的幸福, an initiative we started collaborating on since December 2019. We hope to build a community that shares their faith with their young children in Mandarin, and we’re excited at what lies ahead of us.
But for now, we’re glad that social media can provide us with a platform to share our love and spread cheer to others around the world.
Editor’s Note: Two Singaporean artistes have also released a new song this week dedicated to healthcare workers battling the novel coronavirus. More on their story in the link below.
PAUSE + PRAY
- Pray for peace for all in Wuhan: for the afflicted, for the medical personnel on the front lines, for every government official at every level.
- Pray similarly for Singapore and the rest of the world.