It has been a whopping five months since we had to stay indoors, observe social distancing as we deal with the pandemic. Sanitize and cough in your elbow, is a rule we now know too well. Do not hug or anything physically outlandish. We are living in dangerous times! Oh, that is not all. There is also the ‘personal development’ part of this story. I came back home from school in March. They said we should be able to resume in the next term. Well, it was fun staying at home for an extended holiday. Now the thought of home is nauseatic! When will I get out of this prison? These four walls with all the noise and interactions I was not used to having daily? But wait; being out of school means that I am not going to be able to move to the next level of education. But I wanted to do my finals! My project was due, and my graduation all ready! I had plenty in store for my 2020! Retreats, outings, and adventures with friends in crime. A bonfire scheduled around Easter; a sleepover in May; a Church weekend away; a family chill-out in the Arbaderes or along the beautiful waters on the Coast! All this is now gone! I do not even want to start thinking about that Basketball tournament or that seven aside Soccer fest; a Scrabble match with my mates and many other things that would have come up! But now, this! Quarantine. Lockdown. I am sick and losing control.
Therefore I have been trying to keep my head above the waters, but these thoughts are weighing me down. I feel gagged with a wet rag over my face! My parents keep saying that I need to keep myself busy. Well, they at least, get time to leave the house and interact with one or two people. They tell me to stay active; read a book, and do something constructive. An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop. All true. All desirable. But then, all seems unreachable. My morals now are worse than when I’m in school doing chemistry and biology; or when I am connecting with business buddies striking some deals. I wish I had assignments to help me feel like I am slightly useful and active. I am genuinely sick and losing control. Do not tell me any more Bible verses, and ‘God loves you still’ phrases. Religion is empty, and I need real answers here!
The reality in the mind of God
Whereas the above thoughts may reflect the real state of many minds this day, in many households, there is a greater reality that we need to settle on- God’s reality. Now I know to some, the thought of God seems abstract and unnecessary.
This season is not a surprise to God. Genesis 1:1 leads us to a reality beyond our basic minds- God began the beginning. Isaiah 46:10 says, “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’. John heard this from the Lord in Revelation 21:6, “And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” God has lived all these days that we are living today. When COVID hit China last year, or whenever it did, God knew about it. Nothing slips through his fingers. Notice that, in describing himself in Isaiah, God says that ‘his counsel shall stand’. Having a pandemic does not imply that God is weak. This truth is understandable in the context of my second point.
This season is a hint of how deep the consequences of the fall in Genesis runs
Adam and Eve sinned against God in Genesis 3 and ignored the warning God had given beforehand saying (Genesis 2:17), “for, in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” The serpent was too cunning and caused the human race to flash down the commandments of God. Out of that rebellion, we now have a cursed world. The death promised by the Lord is now being seen in various ways. COVID, the black flu, Ebola, Cancer and others is a glimpse of how terrible the sin-state is for us. We need the trumpet to sound!
Meanwhile, let it be in our hearts that some of the awful things we are facing came across by something spiritual hence we need a spiritual remedy. Well, you may ask, ‘How is adopting a spiritual mindset key in a space where people are doing, and cases are rising?’ Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15:35-56 that there is a time coming when this weak body will transform. In the meantime, we suffer, ail and face many dangers because of the original sin. It is temporary and short-lived, after all.
We are sick and out of control without Jesus
The fear in many people is that this season is slowing down life. And for sure it is in some ways. Nevertheless, the issue of sickness goes way beyond mental stress and strain. We are fundamentally sick at heart. We need attention from a physician- not your regular Cardiologist. Jesus said in Matthew 9:12-13, “But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” The sickness we have within is the cause of the illness we see before us. Sin is the sickness, and we see today are the consequences of sin. Peace of mind comes from the indwelling Christ. Not from the lack of pandemics and ailments. Of course, we desire that all this COVID would go away. However, we need to want to get sick and give up all our control to Jesus Christ.
When we consider the evils that have happened and are happening among the young people in this period, we must be alarmed. Is there something more than sin and wickedness as an expression of stress? Yes! A lot is going on in our minds and lives. As someone said back in the day, ‘Two wrongs do not make a right, but they make a good excuse.” – Dr Thomas Szasz.’ We have an opportunity to experience supernatural help as promised in scripture saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Be encouraged and challenged as you go through this period. Much as it may feel like we are losing control and sick in our heads, there is more significant healing that we need and a much deeper surrender. We have a chance to chose a better default setting- God’s provision of grace. It may sound aloof, but it is the strength and eternality of the unseen things. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.