We have been witnessing the effects of COVID-19 in all facets of our society for more than two months now since quarantine measures have been implemented. It is projected that more people will be affected by this pandemic in the coming days. The global economic downturn has already affected our beloved country, Philippines. We are not only witnessing but we, our relatives and friends, have been experiencing job and income losses, lowered quality of life, and psychological anxiety.
All of us have been caught by the surprise of this outbreak. Some people have already asked why a good and loving God allows pandemics such as COVID-19 to happen. In times like this, it is normal and natural to ask where God is. I think the right question to ask is, “How do we increase our hope in in the midst of this pandemic?” Allow me to share with you some simple steps that will increase our hope everyday.
First, focus on our faith in God which can give us the strength to bear the suffering brought about by this pandemic, and definitely bring us hope that, with God’s grace and help, things will change for the better. We also need to remember every single day the promise of Christ that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6) and He will be with us even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
Second, we have to acknowledge that we live in a fallen and broken world. When sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, God ordained that the created order, including our physical bodies, as persons created in his image, would experience corruption and futility, and that all living things would die. Christians, by being saved through the gospel of God’s grace, do not escape this physical corruption, futility, and death (Romans 8:20-23). The difference for Christians, who trust Christ, is that our experience of this corruption is not condemnation. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation.” The pain for us is purifying, not punitive. “God has not destined us for wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). We die of disease like all men, not necessarily because of any particular sin. We die of disease like all people because of the fall. But for those who are in Christ, the sting of death has been removed (1 Corinthians 15:55).
Third, we need to learn more how to readily accept that we live in this world, but we are citizens of heaven. People who put their trust in God, believe that their life in this world is only temporary, and everlasting life begins when they live with God in heaven. This acceptance helps increase our hope every day.
The WORD of GOD, the Bible, invites us to God in the midst of suffering. Surely, He will give us the strength to go through life. I pray that God will help us to know his love, peace, comfort, and healing in the midst of the pandemic, or any other suffering that come our way.
Ptra. Mhel Perez