Faith, Hope, and Love Through a Pandemic

by Rebecca Hicks, BScN, RN I am writing to you today with a very heavy heart.  I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the last few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster.  I have found myself crying while watching the news, tearing up while seeing pictures and videos of my fellow nurses, doctors and allied health care workers provide war-like-effort care to the critically ill around the world, grieving for families who have lost their loved ones, fearfully stressing about keeping my family safe, worrying about what our future holds. By now, we are all aware what the COVID-19 virus is capable of doing to our physical health, healthcare systems and the economy, but what is it doing to our mental health? Fear. Anxiety. Sadness. Grief. All of these emotions and thoughts are normal during a crisis like the one we find ourselves in today.  There are new fears and anxieties; fear of getting the virus or passing it on to our loved ones, fear of going out of the house, stress of losing our employment (if you already haven’t lost it), fear of not having enough of the things we need to survive, fear of losing people we love, fear of what is to come. And in the age of information that we are in, we are bombarded with information about this pandemic multiple times per day.  Information that causes more stress. More thinking. More fear. Now don’t get me wrong, information is very important. We need to be informed about what is going on. Our government, healthcare teams and researchers have been working very hard to educate us about how to keep ourselves and other people safe. This is important! Checking your phone 100 times per day to see how many cases of COVID-19 are in your community? Probably doing more harm than good…am I right? There are new feelings of sadness and grief; loss of the things you enjoy doing, not being able to see your loved ones, loss of freedom, loss of routines, loneliness, grieving for those who are dying, grieving for our broken world.  It’s depressing. It can feel hopeless. Life is out of control...but were we ever really in control to begin with? Was there ever really any guarantees? When faced with these new realities it’s common to question our purpose, the meaning of life, and to wonder who is really in control? So how do we navigate all these feelings and emotions? Faith, Hope and Love. Faith If there is any time to believe in something, now is the time.  I believe in a God who is faithful in every circumstance. He created this world; He created YOU.  He knows how you are feeling. He knows what you are going through. He knows what is to come. If you’ve had questions about God that’s ok.  I’ve been a Christian almost my whole life and STILL have questions and doubts. There are days I believe beyond a shadow of doubt, there are other days I doubt everything!  God will not abandon you. Even Jesus’ disciples (another word for people who followed around Jesus during his ministry) doubted Him and they got to see miracles performed in front of their very eyes.  And yet Jesus still loved them, had compassion on them, and used them in his ministry even after His death. We all believe in something. Even those who say they don’t believe in God still believe in other things (science, morals, success, themselves).  Can I challenge you to take another look at Jesus Christ? He is a real person who existed a few thousand years ago. Even atheists will agree that he walked the earth. There is so much historical evidence to prove His existence, but please check it out for yourself.  I highly recommend watching the video in this link: https://www.alphacanada.org/resources/alpha-nicky-gumbel/#episodes ; specifically the second video “Who is Jesus?” about 7 minutes in and onward. Nicky Gumbel, who is a British lawyer, does a beautiful job of explaining the historical evidence of Jesus in these Alpha video series, and also explains how he came to the realization that God is real and he needs Him in his life.  I encourage you to use some of this “extra” time we have staying at home to check out these videos. They could change your life. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see…And it is impossible to please God without faith.  Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” Hebrews 11:1, 6. Hope I think we will all agree that Hope is very important in life and in adversity.  Hope can be the lead factor in survival. Fyodor DostoevskyIf says it like this “To live without hope is to cease to live”.  We need to have hope, trust, and respect for our leaders during this time. Even if you did not vote for them, even if you don’t agree with all of what they stand for, or don’t like how they are currently handling this situation.  Romans 13:1 says it like this “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” Let’s pray for those who are leading our country through this pandemic.  Pray that God would give the wisdom to know what to do. Pray that God would give them a sound mind, free from fear. We need to trust in our communities to provide the things we need and hope that others will heed to the instructions our governing bodies have given to help us.  We need to trust in God, that he will see us through these times. Even if it gets worse before it gets better. “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13 Love Love is the key to overcoming this pandemic.  “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  1 Corinthians 13:7. By listening to the government’s recommendations of staying home or socially distancing yourself, you are showing love to those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 such as the elderly and immunocompromised.  Listening to these recommendations will save lives. This is love. By calling your grandparents, family, and friends to “check-up” on them and encourage them, this is love. By dropping off groceries or other needed supplies to your neighbours you are showing love and helping reduce transmission of the virus.  By donating some of your extra toilet paper, canned goods, and cleaning supplies to your local social service organization you are showing love to those in our community who don’t have enough food to feed their family. By donating to global non-profit organizations online you are showing love to those who do not have access to free healthcare or resources like EI during this time. This is love. “Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is action.  Let’s all do our part. Conclusion My dad said something to me this week that has really stuck with me and I want to share with you. He said, “In life we often go through things alone, when we lose a job, or lose a loved one, or are feeling depressed, as most people aren’t also going through those same emotions at the same time.  But this is a time in history where we are all in the same boat. We all know what each other are feeling because we all are going through similar challenges. We are all facing uncertain times. “ For me, it provided some comfort, knowing that we are all in this together. I pray that God will become real to you during this time of uncertainty.  I pray for good health and safety for you and your family, and our world. “Three things will last forever- faith, hope, and love- and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 For additional reading, check out Psalms 91.  This has provided much comfort to me during these past few days.  If you don’t have a Bible, simply google Psalms 91 and you can read it from your computer screen, or download the free Bible app (YouVersion).

AGORA Network Ministries encourages individuals to seek mental health and medical professional care for any ongoing personal challenges.

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