If you are like most people, you may have experienced a wide range of emotions during this pandemic. From confusion to panic to fear to (almost) feeling like everything’s back to normal, we are all struggling with the day-to-day ups and downs of this unprecedented time, as well as uncertainty about the future.
Being bombarded by the latest crises, widely varying opinions, and fear mongering on the news and social media enhances our feelings of instability. Many people have expressed that they have felt like they are living in an alternate universe/science fiction movie!
It’s in a time like this that we need to look for and hold on to a solid foundation. We cannot survive emotionally, physical, and mentally when the sand keeps on shifting below our feet. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Is there anything or anyone else in this world that can claim to be never changing?
God’s Word—Scripture—is God-breathed. We can always look to the Bible as the absolute authority for any situation in our lives. After all, His Word is eternal (Psalm 119:89), and can help equip us “for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
You may be struggling with fear. It is a natural response, as there are a lot of unknowns in this discombobulated season; and let’s face it, the virus is scary! You may be wondering, what will happen if a close member of your family, or yourself, gets the virus? You may be concerned about how you are going to pay the bills. Or how you are going to handle going back to work while the virus is still around. You may be worried about what the future holds.
Let the Scripture below minister to you. Write it down. Say it out loud. Memorize it. God will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
#1 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
A typical emotion that goes hand in hand with fear is anxiety. Mental health experts are advising us that anxiety is on the rise across the world. What do we do?
God’s Word tells us:
#2 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
If you are feeling anxious about your personal situation, I encourage you to take time every day to pray to the Living God. He hears your prayers. In addition, please reach out and share your feelings with a close friend or relative. Look for online counseling; some organizations are providing services free of charge.
The pandemic has brought new stresses into our lives. From parents juggling the dual role of working from home while taking care of children, to the challenges of front line workers such as doctors, nurses, paramedics, and retail workers, many of us are trying to find rest in an environment of confusion, conflict, and stress. The Bible says that we can find refuge under his wings (Psalm 91:4). Let this Scripture minister to you too:
#3 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Some of you who are designated as essential workers—or even those who have to be out and about because of family or work responsibilities—may feel that you need God’s protection throughout the day. Be encouraged with this Scripture:
#4 – “The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8).
Pray this prayer over yourself, or your loved ones, on a daily basis.
If you are feeling unsettled, repeat, write down, pray over, and memorize this next Scripture that promises peace. Having inner peace can counteract negative emotions such as being troubled and afraid.
#5 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
It is everyone’s wish to be able to overcome the things that trouble and challenge us. This pandemic is something that we as individuals and collectively as a society must overcome. But let’s leave it in Jesus’s hands. As He says in His Word:
#6 – “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The important thing to remember is that we don’t have to overcome this on our own power! For He has overcome the world!
It has probably crossed your mind at some point, why? Why did this pandemic have to happen? Why can’t things be the way they used to be? Why do good people get sick, or die? We may never fully know what God’s purposes for this pandemic are, but we do know that God uses all kinds of situations to accomplish His purposes for the good of those who love Him. So all we have to do is:
#7 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
We can’t see the beginning from the end, but He can. Let’s put our trust in the Lord to help us get through this.
I don’t know about you, but there are times that I have felt my hope slipping. I had important life plans for spring 2020, and because they involved travel, of course, they have been postponed indefinitely due to the lockdown. There are times I have felt impatient: how long is this situation going to last to I can get on with my plans? And times when I have grumbled when I should really be taking my concerns directly to the Lord. This is why the next Scripture is so important:
#8 – “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
God is a god of mercy and of grace. He invites us to come to Him with anything that troubles our heart. He will always listen, and He is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Spend some time today in a quiet place, talking to Him. And don’t forget to take time to listen too!
#9 – “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
In the early weeks of the lockdown, I struggled to be productive. Finally I came to peace with the fact that, perhaps this is a season for me to put a priority on simply sitting. This verse always reminds me that sometimes the best thing for me to “do” is just to “be.”
#10 – “He says, ‘Be still, and know and that I am God’.” (Psalm 46:10)
I heard a writer colleague say on a Facebook live that this is the time to get right with God, get right with others, and do what you have been created/called to do. This is sage advice, as the most important command according to God’s Word is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
This passage then goes on to say:
#11 – “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)
Sometimes it takes helping others to get out of our own funk. Is there some way you can help a neighbor, friend, or relative during these times? Is there a conversation you need to have with someone who you have wronged? This is a perfect time to reach out and get right with someone who will be encouraged by your thoughtfulness.
This lockdown is an opportunity to go the extra mile to support others. What about artists, musicians, writers, and speakers who have lost much of their income due to the shutting down of entertainment venues, schools, conferences, and retail stores? Can you send a word of encouragement? Purchase their artwork, CDs, or books? Mentor someone in your field? Share their news on social media? There are a myriad of ways you can encourage someone in the arts and they in return can encourage you and others.
#12 – “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)
I love what the Apostle Paul, who has been both in need and had plenty, said:
#13 – “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11)
Can you pledge to make the most of this situation? Can you make the decision to find joy and not bleakness? Can you be more accepting of, rather than fight, your circumstances? Can you make lemonade out of lemons?
And what of the future? None of us know when this pandemic is going to end. None of us know what the future holds. But God does. And He wants to prosper His people and give each one of us a hope and a future.
Today, why don’t you pray into the following Scripture? It all starts with calling on Him. Praying to Him. And He will listen.
#14 – “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you’.” (Jeremiah 29:11-12)
God’s got this! All we have to do is sit back and trust He will work everything out for His purposes and for our good.
Enjoy the ride!