by Faith Nacarato
For the second year in a row, we are celebrating Christmas season during the COVID-19 pandemic. By now everyone is feeling fatigued from the last 18 months (as of this writing it’s been 535 days of lockdown for us here in Manila). We have all experienced losses – jobs/livelihoods, loved ones, health, time, relationships, opportunities, the “old normal”. Some may be feeling like they’re at the breaking point and can’t bring themselves to even think about celebrating anything.
Looking at everything that has happened (and still happening) around us – pandemic, natural disasters, wars – I have often asked God, “What is the purpose of all this? Puede awat na, Lord? There’s so much suffering, I don’t know how much more of this we can take.”
In the last couple of years, I’ve experienced anxiety like never before. As a mother of young children, panic and worry are heightened as I lie awake at night thinking about the “what ifs” concerning our kids. Thoughts like, “What if my husband and I both get sick, who will care for the children?” Even reading or watching the daily news brings on feelings of confusion and chaos.
Kung nakaka relate ka, I want to encourage you to do three things: Pray, Trust and Declare God’s Truths.
Pray. Talk to God and “dump” all your thoughts, worries, and feelings no matter how messy it all sounds. Kahit magulo at hirap intindihin ng iba. It doesn’t have to be formal and coherent. Release all the tension that’s been mounting in your heart and mind. He hears every sound and thought, things we can’t even utter because there are simply no words – He sees you and hears your heart and He delights in hearing from you, His child.
Trust that God is good and He is good at being God. Everywhere we turn these days, we see and hear, “Just trust God.” OK, sige. But does that mean we will regain the things we lost in this season? That everything will go back to “normal” soon? Not necessarily. But we can trust that our God is fully in control, He is always good, and He will never change.
During Christmas season, we also hear a lot about hope. Hope for a dark world with the birth of Jesus Christ. But what is this hope? According to author, speaker and Pastor Erwin Lutzer: “Hope, as understood in the Bible, is not, “I hope everything will turn out okay, but I’m unsure.” Scriptural hope is “confident expectation.” It means we have something to look forward to; and it is something that we can depend on.” He continues – “Hope does not guarantee that life will get easier; hope is the assurance that God will be with us whether it will get easier or not. Hope does not mean that we will be healed; hope means that God is with us in our sickness and even in death. Hope does not promise a change in circumstances; it promises a change of heart. Our faith is best demonstrated not when things are going well but when they are NOT going well.”
Know God’s truths. The enemy likes to keep us down and bombards us with outright lies and half-truths. When you are gripped with fear, overwhelmed by depression, anxious about the future, devote some uninterrupted time to soak up God’s truths. Read your Bible, listen to music, watch a sermon, etc. If there is a verse or word that’s speaking to you, memorize it and more importantly, live it. Don’t just be inspired by it, actually apply it. Personally, in these uncertain times I find comfort in the words of an old hymn I grew up singing. Today may you be encouraged as well. COVID or not, we have reason to celebrate.
“… Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.”