Can I just say that I am thankful today! Guys, this is amazing for my scaredy-cat self! I am thankful for our president and his cabinet today! I am SO impressed with his proactive and, frankly, brilliant address to our nation on Sunday night! If you haven’t watched it but know the details, still make the effort to watch it! Click here – it’s worth seeing! Kudos to him for taking drastic and swift action before the virus lost its mind amongst the millions of people! I know it will spread. But, praying that this will flatten the curve!
This virus has struck fear in the depths of many or irritation in the minds of others. Some people think the apocalypse is upon us and others shrug this all off as the flu and carry on with their lives. Some are scared of the implications of the virus and others are left incredulously wondering what all the fuss is about.
Whether you fear for your life and hide in your house or you cough out a tickle in your throat and keep shaking hands, the world has changed. And the way we live has changed. Whether you fobb it off or fear for your life, the fact remains – we, as South Africans, woke up to a new reality this morning that many countries across the world have already imposed or are going to implement.
And I wish I could say that I felt strong. But the truth is, I’m not, really. Sure, our president made me so much more relieved when he enforced things that would seemingly make the situation better. I have been hoping people would wash their hands more all my life! Looks like I got my wish!
Jokes aside, I have been put to shame! A lot!
Most people I meet are not stressed. Most people shrug it off. Most people are not afraid of running out of food or being stuck inside and away from people. Most people are not hyperventilating when someone enters their house and doesn’t wash their hands.
But I am. And I’m ashamed.
Because I should be calm. I should be filled with the peace of my Father but instead, I feel anxious about everything! I worry about the ramifications of the virus more than actually getting the virus myself. The implications of being a carrier therefore not knowing where the line is between what’s responsible and irresponsible for the health of others. My big fear is being isolated. I don’t do well on my own. My thoughts and I are not friends. We can’t be alone together long. I thrive on the company of others and seldom get tired of being around people. The thought of being stuck in my house or property and not being able to have tea with my friends or visit our parents terrifies me. Worse still, I do panic about not being able to have access to food. Nappies and toilet paper are no biggie for me. Being a cloth mom, I have hand-rinsed revolting nappies and washed wipes. If we absolutely had to, we could make it work. But food scares me. We are completely dependent on the system in that regard. We don’t buy local or organic (because, if you haven’t investigated it, it’s darn expensive!) and I have not been good at sorting out a veggie garden. We buy as we need so have no “back up plan” should the world shut down. And guys, yes, I am a person who would stockpile on food! It scares the life out of me!
I watched an video Michael Buble made about the virus and he spoke a lot about our responsibility as a people to be concerned for others. He then said that our grandparents were asked to go to war. We’re being asked to sit on the couch. Food for thought!
But, all too often, I have imagined that we are getting a taste of war. Isolation, fear of venturing out, uncontrollable death, worldwide and a possible lack of food grips me with fear. It consumes me. It lurks in the corners of my mind. It hisses its poisonous lies in my head. It’s an undercurrent in everything I do.
And I am ashamed! And put to shame frequently!
Because this is a time when I can show the peace Christ brings. It’s a time when I can comfort others with His hope. It’s a time when I can shine the light of my Saviour in a dark world. And, I am just not doing that because I have given into fear.
You might be snorting in God’s direction at the moment knowing that He is allowing this all to happen. But allow me to point out a few things.
Firstly, have you noticed how the world has rallied together? This is not like ebola or swine flu. This has affected everyone across the globe and people are helping one another, giving and doing things at no charge. There is suddenly a sense of community. This has made the world conscious of the well being of others. Suddenly it’s not all about “me time” and “you deserve”. We’ve been made aware of the health of others.
Secondly, my Instagram feed is littered with what families are doing to keep themselves entertained. I would venture a guess that you have been equally amazed that families have had to “learn” how to spend time with each other again. They are connecting! Is that a bad thing?
Thirdly and probably the most sobering part of this pandemic:
Maybe God is trying to get your attention! Maybe He is trying to wake you up. Maybe He is trying to show you that you are not in control of your destiny. It is not your life. He has breathed life into you and He can take it away just as easily.
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
Dare I say that maybe God has allowed this to happen before it’s too late. Maybe you thought your life was untouchable and the world you lived in free of disaster. I did. I have always been grateful to be living in a country free of natural disaster. This year alone, I have seen gale force winds in our area that blew in glass windows of neighbours and tossed our trampoline over the fence. I have felt a tremour strong enough to make me feel temporarily motion sick. And now this! What I thought was safe and the land I thought was fine has been rocked. We are still on the edge. We have not seen the worst yet. It’s coming and quite frankly, I am terrified!
But, I have found such comfort from this verse many times in my life.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
For anyone who has ever told you that the life of a Christian is easy, Jesus Himself has told us that it’s not! But…He has conquered and NOTHING is too difficult for Him.
Interesting, many people have said that it’s unfair that God judges all men. How dare He when some have never heard of Him. Well, I would say that this is a pretty good reason for THE WORLD to sit up and realise that they are not the be all and end all. They cannot sustain themselves. There is something out there that NO ONE can contain. Life is but a vapour. And He wants each of us to realise that we. need. Him.
“For [our parents] disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:10-11
We need to ask ourselves what God may be teaching each one of us. Apart from the global need for people to turn to Him and beg Him to forgive their rebellion and indifference, there are definitely individual lessons we can all learn through this.
To sum me up, I am an OCD extrovert who thrives when my house is clean and germ-free and I’m in the company of others. Now I am being taught that there is only so much I can do to control germs. I cannot possibly sanitise my hands enough; I cannot possibly sanitise everything everyone touches. There is a point at which I have to trust that God is in control. And that He knows my fears.
I cannot rely on people to bring me fulfillment, hope, joy and satisfaction. God needs to be enough.
I need to learn how to spend time with my family rather than obsessively clean my house and scroll through social media.
I read this verse the other day.
“I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul boasts in the LORD; let the oppressed hear and rejoice. Magnify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:1-4
I have a duty and a responsibility as a Christian. I need to show those around me in the panic and pandemonium that there is hope! Someone is in control even though our world looks like it’s falling apart. I need to show others that rather than live in the clutches of cold fear, that I can rest in peace knowing that my FATHER is holding ME in His hands. By praising God in the storm and constantly giving Him glory despite this crazy life, will hopefully make others question why I’m mad to be so positive. And then, hopefully, it will give me the opportunity to share the hope we have.
This verse talks about seeking the Lord. That means actively searching. Not sitting on my backside waiting for Him to show up to the party. And when I actively seek Him, He will deliver me from my fears.
Recently I listened to a sermon (click here to listen) from a man with cancer. He has 7 children. Some adults. Some teenagers. And one child not yet in high school. He spoke of the day he first got his diagnosis. He asked the doctor,
“Are we talking months or years here?”
His answer was “Months.”
He said that he realised the doctor was wrong. Or rather his question was wrong.
“I didn’t have months or years. I only have today. It’s all I’ve ever had. Whether you have cancer or no cancer, all you have is today. It’s all I’ve ever had.”
Can I venture to say, that whether you have COVID_19 or whether you are sitting in the Eastern Cape with no cases in the province, ALL YOU HAVE IS TODAY!
That should put some things in perspective for all of us. We are not in control of our lives. We don’t hold our times in our hands. And should we get the Corona virus and become desperately ill, if it is not our time, then we will be fine! And, likewise, taking your private jet, your cat, your phone and all your toilet paper to some remote island will not protect you if tomorrow is your day.
This is a huge comfort knowing that nothing, not even a worldwide pandemic, can alter God’s plan.
I have by NO MEANS got this right! I have been in a quiet state of fear all day and I’ve been writing this post all week. But together, let’s determine to seek the Lord while He may be found and call on Him while He is near!
And let’s be thankful that He has given us today!
Have a good one!
And…listen to this song! Lyrics are SO relevant right now. A bit of an old-fashioned one. But lyrics!!
Okay, I’m done.
Photo Credit: @Jonathan Petersson
Tags: 2 chronicles, Christ, Christian, corona, coronavirus, covid, covid_19, disaster, faith, fear, germs, hope, ill, illness, pandemic, peace, psalm, quarantine, responsibility, self-isolation, sick, sickness, terrified, today, tomorrow, trust