I have never been through something like this earlier. This moment is unlike anything that most of us have ever experienced. We are currently living in uncertain times with the outbreak of Covid. I started feeling feverish and tired on 14 April 2021. Being aware of the symptoms of the Corona virus, I immediately got myself tested. I was COVID positive. As my family came to know, they were anxious and worried as I was at that time, but fortunately, they were very supportive, hopeful, and positive about the whole situation. I was admitted in the hospital for further treatment. I remember it being the toughest and the most difficult time of my life, where besides dealing with the discomfort from fever and pain in muscles, I was also impacted by isolation and uncertainty of the entire situation. However trusting in the Lord, I tried to keep calm and a positive attitude through it all. After a few days by God’s grace I got discharged hospital then rest and home care, now I am recovering back to my normal life.
Covid taught me to understand what does it mean to be in isolation? I was cut off from one another, passing my days in varying degrees of isolation. Though I found how caring and loving my family and friends around are. My mobile did not stop ringing for some time. There were prayers, advises, offers to help me and much more. It was so comforting to know that there are still people who are willing to take risk for others. I know many are suffering right now because of the corona virus pandemic. It leads to the disruption of our normal life patterns, relationships and or even economic distress. As I was sick and fearful of how I would face all these, I have also been grieving for lost loved ones. These experiences of suffering are, of course, not new and such suffering goes on all around us. Whenever we endure suffering we need others to love and care for us; a network of good and strong relationships around us. How are we to think about all this? And what is a Christian way of understanding our suffering?
There are things like sickness, plague, and death. It’s broken because of human sin. Bible clearly highlights the connection between sin, suffering, and death. And sin doesn’t just affect us as individuals. It impacts everything including social structures and, in our case, the creation itself. As Christians we have hope but this doesn’t take away the pain of our current suffering, but it does give us comfort and encouragement. When God’s kingdom comes to earth all things will be made new. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. This is when “God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore.” We look forward to this in hope. Our suffering is temporary, but our blessings will be much greater and eternal. Paul, a man who knew about suffering mentions in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
There is a new world coming and we as children of God have a part in it. Even though we cannot always understand our suffering or explain it, by faith we know that God is working in our lives and we know that God’s promises are true and we can have joy in Him. While I was in my suffering with Covid I could see unexpected ways God worked in the crisis. I welcomed the time of isolation as a time of much required rest and to refocus on what is most important in my life- that is to spend time with God in prayer and to connect more deeply with the people in my life. Life is short and human lives are fragile, but we need to understand that we are all the same and every life is important. So in the midst of this, I experienced one thing that God is so close and is our refuge in the midst of the storms and the misfortunes that we face. Loving and caring for others is the fundamental evidence of our faith. We as Christians live with the hope of a better world yet to come. This does not mean that in the present we do not worry about having a better world for all of us but we also wait for the second coming of Jesus where we will finally enjoy the fullness of life that God wants for all of us. So until then let us be kinder than necessary to every one because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people whom you meet whether they treat you right or not. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it.
This Covid-19 pandemic situation – which has led each of us to several unprecedented changes in spiritual, physical, mental and social realms – has affected people and environment around the world but taught me that God is always there in the midst of our both good and bad times. We are assured that God will never leave us nor forsake us. We just need to submit all our worries and cares unto God. God’s help is always there for those who trust in God. Even though we will continue to suffer in various ways, Christians can experience victory in the midst of it. Paul says in Romans 8:35-37, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
There is no doubt that living through a pandemic is challenging. But as I have gone through my experience with Covid, I can testify that God’s help is always there for those who trust in God. Now as I recover from those difficult times I want to remind all of us that life will return to normal—even if it is a new kind of normal. In the meantime, try to look on the bright side during this difficult situation—it’s beneficial for your spiritual, mental and your physical health.
What is more, turning in to a mode of gratitude can help you solve problems. Be grateful, be more creative, build resilience, and strengthen your immune system. So, be sure you are stopping to think about what you are grateful for right now. Doing so can help you cope with COVID-19 and boost your mood along the way. Being grateful every day is one of the main reasons that I was able to work on overcoming anxiety and facing my fears in my life during my isolation days during Covid. COVID-19 has a way of making people feel like their world was turned upside down overnight. They struggle feeling scared and feeling like everyone is overreacting.
But learning to practice gratitude every day can help bring some stability to your life by getting you to focus on what is good rather than what is uncertain or unpredictable. Whether it is a hello in a Zoom meeting or a simple statement during a telephone call, letting someone know you are grateful for them not only improves your mood, but improves their mood as well. Be sure you are generous with your gratitude and you will not only see improvement in your own mindset but also in those around you.
Gratitude doesn’t have to be for something so significant. In fact, being thankful for something as small as a fresh cup of coffee, a sunny day, or a small help can give your mood a little boost and train your brain to see the good rather than the bad. Think about the worst moments in your life and then, contrast those with where you are now. Consider not only how you endured, but also what you learned through the experience. As I write this I have so many such little, little things to remember and be thankful to. Friends who brought medicines, provisions, vegetables, served me with a meal or the ones who provided me with a soup, taken care of my family members and so many such things.
I want to write a thanks note, text or voice message, or email expressing my gratitude. Tell someone you appreciate them and it can help you feel more connected to other people in your life. Becoming more grateful can be a more powerful tool for navigating the current crisis. Life without Christ is a crisis. Many prominent spiritual thinkers see gratitude as a key element in developing the inner life of a Christian and becoming more fully human. So having Christ in your life makes you grateful to God and to others. We may think that gratitude is a feeling. It is much more than that. It is simply living in the real world, in which everything is a gift from God- ‘the giver of all good things’. Covid-19 is a human catastrophe. But it is also making millions consider what is important, and to count their blessings – particularly if they have not contracted the illness. This is a pandemic which pays no respect to wealth or status: you look around and you can see it has infected everyone alike. It was scary for me walking into the hospital in the beginning and realizing the virus was really there.
In the midst of my Covid experience, for my friends and family it was not uncommon to call or to have a video chat with me. My friends and family also reached out for support in so many ways as they grieve the loss of their typical routine and to navigate uncertainty of the future. My message to everyone is that be supportive of the people dealing with this rare virus, because even if you don’t get it; someone around you might suffer from it. Friendships can have a major impact on your health and well-being. Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. To all my friends who have stood by my side, thank you.
When Job experienced the devastating loss of his children and became afflicted with painful sores on his entire body, his suffering was overwhelming. The Bible tells us that his friends wanted to comfort him. When his friends found him, “they began to weep aloud and tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” Job 2:12-13. Job’s friends initially showed remarkable understanding. They sensed that Job simply needed someone to sit and mourn with him. Later we read and understand that as these three friends began to speak, the irony is that they ended up giving Job poor advice. So often the best thing we can do when comforting a suffering friend is to sit with them prayerfully in their suffering. One thing I understood as I have gone through my sufferings during Covid days is that a friend’s presence and availability in the midst of suffering provides great comfort.
If you are trying to comfort a friend but are panicking yourself, it is not time to weep aloud but it is time to trust in the Lord. During times like this, our faith can be challenged and it can be hard to see where God fits in with this new normal. I have learned to work differently; and love more unconditionally, though sometimes life still feels like a mess. It is difficult to over emphasis the significance of friendship especially during this difficult time of Covid which I have gone through. I must say -along with my family I had few Godly friends who helped me to come out of my situation quite a bit. Two of my good friends stood throughout this period of sufferings and depending on God they found ways to turn the negatives into good through their continued trust in the Lord, regular prayers and required supports, calls, providing all what they could do to be make sure that God is an ever present help with me. I understood that I needed them more than ever right in the middle of my Covid experience. It is not to undermine the presence of God and friendship of Jesus in my life.
True friends will be with you through life’s most soul-shaking changes. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” In John 15:13-15 we see “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
The Bible says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). As Christians, only by drawing closer to God and having real interaction with God we can maintain a normal relationship with God and have friendship with God. It is just like two people associating with each other, who can only keep their close relationship going for a long time by being more open with each other, communicating more when they encounter issues, and by understanding and respecting each other. In this age of fast-paced life, complicated relationships and evil social trends our hearts are easily disturbed by the people, events and things of the outside world, and they prevent us from maintaining a normal relationship with God. This leads to us becoming more and more distant from God and, when we encounter issues, it becomes very hard for us to calm ourselves before God, and to draw close to God. That is how exactly we can maintain a close relationship with God and our relationship with God will definitely become closer.