As the impact of coronavirus COVID-19 begins to unfold in all its present and future dimensions, the one thing we need right now, I believe, is some light in the darkness of this moment. The experience of darkness seem to be all over us; it seems to be one darkness after another—mass shootings, hurricanes, fire outbreaks, storms, ecological disasters, virus pandemics; you name it. Each darkness brings along with it all levels of brokenness—broken people, broken families, broken relationships, broken hearts, broken minds, broken spirits; in short, we are living in a broken world. It is in the midst of all this brokenness that coronavirus COVID-19 rears up its head.
To eradicate this present threat to humanity, we have responded with measures like—shot-downs, stay-at-home, keep social distancing, etc. These are very good measures that must be followed! Yet, I wonder about the new areas of darkness and brokenness that these solutions are about to create. A friend of mine said that it is better for him to stay outside and deal with coronavirus C0VID-19 than to stay at home and deal with coronavirus COVID-30—referring to his spouse. Many couples are not used to spending time together in the same space and have not done so for so many years, and now they must do it 24/7—God have mercy. There are many single and married persons whose social lives revolve around work, church, and social groups and settings, who must now stay at home—talk about loneliness and disillusionment. Many kids are at home with no place to go and need to expend their excessive energies in very close quarters—May God deliver them from each other, and from driving their parents crazy.
My point is that, I worry about the psycho-social effects of this new arrangement. The longer we stay in it, the more the adverse effects will begin to manifest—heightened increase in family violence, rage, anger, impatience, unwholesome talk, bitterness, brawling, slander, all forms of malice, separation and divorce, depression, suicide, homicide, addiction, psychotic episodes; you name it—Counseling and Clinical Psychologists get ready. Sad to say, a heightened increase in abortion may also come into play as many more babies are going to be made during this period of stay-at-home; and on flip side, I hope that, 9 month from now, hospitals would be fully equipped to handle the number of children headed into our world—this is a blessing.
In the midst of all this possible brokenness and darkness, how do we respond? How do we seek and maintain hope? How do we source light, and where can we source this light from? Do we sit back, fight with each other and catastrophize the future, or do we find ways to turn this adversity into opportunity? Here, the Word of God gives us hope as Jesus declares, “I am the light of the World”.
As Boy Scots, we were taught that if you do not know your bearings and you are lost in the woods or at night, if per chance you see a glimpse of light in the distance, walk toward it because that light represents hope; it represents life; it represents the possibility of help. In the midst of our present darkness, there is light that we can follow and come into life; a light that can bring hope into this hopelessness; a light that can provide guidance in this moment of confusion; a light that can bring comfort and consolation in the midst of this disillusionment; a light that can call us to compassion and love in the present bubble of desperation and dissipation. That light, that power and energy is Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior, and our Redeemer.
If Jesus is the light of the world, then, He is also the light in the darkness and brokenness of my life. In that case, I can truly use this moment of time-off in two great ways. First, as an opportunity to reflect upon the areas of darkness in my life—darkness within myself, with relatives, friends and co-workers; darkness in the way I see and threat myself, my spouse, my children, my parents and others; darkness in my responsibilities and how I am responding to something that God is calling or asking me to do, etc. This can be a beautiful time for personal growth.
Secondly, it is also a time I can spend considering seriously where I am in my relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The questions to ask is: Am I one-on-one, side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder with Jesus? What role is He playing in my life right now, in my relationships, in my family, in my endeavors, in my decisions, in my aspirations, and in my person, as a whole? Is He on the periphery, or is He right on the center stage? Where am I with the spirit of forgiveness, compassion, mercy, kindness, faithfulness, generosity, and patience? Remember the words of Scriptures, “Tomorrow is not a promise” for “We neither know the day, nor the hour”
At the wedding in Cana, it was because Jesus’ cousin kept Him close-by, through invitation, that He was able to help out by supplying needed wine when they ran out. The closer we are to the Lord, the closer we are to that light we desperately need to remedy the darkness in our times, and the darkness in our lives. The closer we are to the Lord, the more we can experience the power and deliverance that only His presence can provide. The further away we are from Him, the more vulnerable we are to the principalities and power of darkness. This may sound like a crèche, but believe me, it is not; it is a living truth.
Keeping Jesus close is as simple as calling upon His name as many times in a day as we can; invoking his presence in the environment of our life and work; invoking His power for our protection and the protection of our families; invoking His strength for our sustenance; invoking His wisdom for our guidance and understanding, invoking his mercy and compassion for the forgiveness of our sins; etc. Like the Publican, in the story of the Pharisee and the Publican in the Bible, we need to always pray: “Father forgive me for I am a sinner”, and then do our best to constantly forgive everyone who has sinned against us. These are dangerous times, my friends, let no one carry unforgiveness in their hearts, for Scripture says that no unforgiving spirit will see God. Far more important than what Coronavirus is doing, is where we are in life with God, self and others. When it comes to coronavirus, this too shall pass!