When All Stands Still

By Iris Richard

When a pandemic enters our lives, when all around us morphs into a state of uncertainty and chaos, it is natural to succumb to fear, anxiety, and worry. Even though all of us are affected in one way or another, some suffer more severe situations, face isolation, loneliness, financial difficulties, sickness, and even death. Such circumstances are hard to cope with, and a cloud of negative emotions—such as despair, hopelessness, and fear of the future—can settle like a dark cloak over us.

      Questions batter our minds. How long will it be before we are released from this uncertainty? What will tomorrow bring? How will we survive? News headlines engender fear and worry of infection and losing loved ones can augment the feeling of helplessness. The threat of losing our jobs can be all too real, and we can find ourselves in the midst of turmoil that threatens to overcome us. We’re all human, so it makes sense that our hearts hurt and our faith wavers when observing the impact that COVID-19 is bringing in its wake.

      We ask ourselves what we can do in response to the alarming circumstances that unfold around us, how we can react when trying to stay positive just isn’t enough.

Keep praying

“Prayer is the Christian’s greatest weapon.”—Billy Graham

      As believers, we look up. We seek God through prayer and trust in His sovereignty. Scripture tells us that prayer is one of our most powerful resources. When you are at a loss for words, or when you feel like you’re beating down God’s door with the same prayer day after day, ask God’s Holy Spirit to help you. The Bible tells us the Holy Spirit is an intercessor for us and cries out to God on our behalf.[1]

Immerse yourself in God’s Word

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear.” “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: The righteous man runs into it and is safe.”—Psalm 46:1–2, Proverbs 18:10

      When you feel as if your very soul hurts from news reports of disaster, spread of disease, and death, you can find a place of refuge in God’s Word.

The gift of hope

“Trusting God’s faithfulness can dispel our fearfulness.”—Leslie Koh

      God will not only fulfill His promises in His time, but He will also sustain us. This was the same hope that God’s people had as they waited for Him to complete His plan, to deliver them from their enemies, wipe away their tears, and remove their disgrace.[2] In the meantime, God gave His people refuge and shelter as they waited. He comforted them in their ordeals, gave them strength to endure, and gave them assurance that He was there with them. This is the promise we have of His protection, comfort, strength, and shelter throughout our lives.

Guard your heart

“Grief can kill a person emotionally and physically. If not counteracted with God’s strength and power, our personal weakness may debilitate us.”—Billy Graham

      Even though it’s important to stay informed about the latest developments, especially in time of crisis, nevertheless information overload and repeated scenes of graphic images from tragic events on TV or social media can have a negative influence. It’s important to recognize that this input can leave lasting impressions that affect us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Care for others

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”—Galatians 6:2

      You can support others who experience loss or who may be going through a personal crisis by lending a helping hand—make that phone call, write that email, help shop for someone who is unable to, be a listening ear. Look around for ways to be a blessing. Even a smile, a friendly comment, a small deed of kindness, or showing some form of camaraderie can go a long way toward cheering a lonely soul.

Share of what you have

“Your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want.”—2 Corinthians 8:14

      When everyone rushes to buy supplies and stock up on needed items, one can refrain from grabbing the last needed item off a shelf in the supermarket and letting the next guy have it. While sharing with others might be the last on a list of to-dos during a crisis, it’s often through an act of unselfish giving or sharing that we find ourselves blessed in some way, as is brought out so well in this well-known prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

[1] See Romans 8:26.

[2] Isaiah 25:1.

Posted by Iris Richard