The past twenty months or so have been challenging and unprecedented. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to so many changes in our lives. We have to constantly adapt to evolving safety measures promulgated by the authorities, so much so that our lifestyles have been impacted in so many ways. We have to wear masks and practise social distancing when we are out of our homes. Our homes have also become our offices as we can no longer report to office for work. And this might be distressing as we are no longer able to differentiate between working and family time. Our social and church lives have also been curtailed. We are no longer able to meet our loved ones and friends as freely as before and church services have mainly been restricted to meeting online.
All these changes have inevitably affected all of us in one way or another. It is therefore no wonder that we read of reports that many are suffering from some form of mental health issue such anxiety, depression, and even fear. A Duke-NUS Medical School in Jan 2021 reported that one in three local adults, particularly women, younger adults, and those of lower socio-economic status, are experiencing psychological distress related to Covid-19.
How then, shall we as Christ followers try to cope with the pandemic which has been long drawn with no end in sight? We may be well mentally and physically but our spirit can be languishing, feeling weary, restless and even joyless as we see the daily number of infections and deaths increasing daily.
I suggest that we can do the following:
Draw Near To God
Spending personal time with God is essential if we want to remain flourishing in our spiritual lives. James 4:8 beckons us to “draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”. Do not let this pandemic disheartened us but let us thrive to draw near to God daily through worship, prayer and reading His Word. When we spend extended time with God, our souls can be recharged in His presence. Jeremiah 31:25 promises that God will “satisfy the weary soul and every languishing soul He will replenish”.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 exalts us to “encourage one another and build each other up”.
There is no denial that we all need encouragement. It keeps us motivated, loved and boosts our confidence. Encouragement is also good for our mental and overall health, both the giver and receiver can experience joy. In other words, as we encourage others, we are encouraged as well.
We can speak words of encouragement, send an encouraging note, email, text, or make a phone call to lift-up someone’s heart and spirit in the Lord each day. This will surely go a long way to strengthen and lighten the loads of our follow brothers and sisters during this challenging period.
Thus, let us, as His disciples, not lose heart during this challenging time, but strive to draw close to God and be a Barnabas to someone each day. In John 16:33 Jesus encouraged us that in this world we will have trouble but we can take heart, for He has overcome the world.
By brother Thomas Teo