14 Jun From this Time Forward
I look back to the day when the nationwide lockdown was called up while the same was happening around the globe. We were helpless in the face of death; everyone was in dread and uncertainty. Suddenly all of us were thinking about surviving. Out of fear we saw people hoarding hand sanitizers, masks, toilet paper, groceries, etc. We writhed in the agony of not being able to meet face to face with our loved ones, the suffering of the people overwhelmed us as well as various losses in personal, national and global aspects. It not only created a health crisis but also affected education and the economy leading the learning curve and GDP to go down.
The good thing about it was the shift of thought which made us understand the value of human relationships and rest in the age that glorifies busyness making us reflect on our own lives and surroundings. It also revolutionized the way we do ministry as we had to shift to the new patterns of doing our fellowship, solely on virtual mode, having its pros and cons. On the other side, we saw people taking advantage of someone’s misery to make their fortune and the rampant spread of rumors and fake news over social media platforms catapulted fear and anxiety in people.
The result of surveys and studies conducted to find the pandemic effect says that some people were good adjusters and some poor. Whatsoever it is, we all have been affected by it in some way or the other. Some of us out there have lost our family members, loved ones, and some, their job, years, etc. Some of us have recovered from the pain of loss and some are still in the journey of healing. Every one of us has our degrees and levels of experience which is unique.
We all have seen it, experienced it, and moving forward with it.
As we are embracing the new normal, the things we learned in the dark period about valuing relationships, loving, and caring for those who are suffering and in need may stay with us. Jesus Himself gave the commandment in John 13:34-35 to love one another just as He has loved us and by this everyone is supposed to know that we are His disciples. Likewise, John in 1 John 3: 18 urges believers to love one another not just with words but in action and truth. We see in the world love for one another growing cold, especially in these trying times where we are told to remain physically distanced from one another, may we who are called to be the children of God share this love and care in whatever capacity we can. We are taught to be sacrificial, not selfish in our relationship with one another by valuing others above ourselves in humility and not looking only for our interests but the interests of others. It could be through our prayers, checking in with each other, helping, etc. When we have a heart, God will show us the way.
There’s some positive sign that the learning institutions are opening slowly in the country. The students have missed so much of what we call school/college life and interactive learning and some have lost the year. But it’s not even long that we have already been warned of another strain of covid. It looks like we are running in circles but may we make the most of this time. It’s a human tendency to either romanticize the past or daydream about the future and despise the present, the pandemic has made us despise it even more. A few months back I came across Ecclesiastes 7:10. The author writes “Do not say, why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such question”. It is okay to reminisce the past or look for the better days to come but also have to understand that the good old days weren’t always good and the future may not be as we expected. When we were in the year 2019, I’m sure many of us might have felt unfulfilled and might have been looking forward to the year 2020, then covid happened and it is still going on.
Covid is new to us but people in the past have faced covid like plagues having different geographic origins and paths of spread. At the beginning of the pandemic, I heard so much about how the Christians made an impact in the past during the worst plague that hit the Roman Empire by caring for the sick and the suffering who were left in the streets to die. We admire great people when we read and hear about the amazing revival, revolution, and impact they have brought in society and the world but when we observe closely, we see that the times they lived were not favorable, so many things were at odds against them. The only thing that made a difference was instead of making an excuse, whining, complaining, and daydreaming, they made the best of the present.
Having said that, I would like to encourage myself and all of us to make the best use of the opportunity as the scripture also encourages us to do so (Eph. 5:15-17) and understand what God wants us to do during such times as these where everything looks bleak & uncertain. He is still sovereign. He is on the throne. He is in control, directing His plan and purpose. He is God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is always near to hold us today, and tomorrow; so we can trust Him completely as we live through the new normal.
Ushia Rai, currently pursuing a PhD in Agricultural Extension from UBKV, Coochbehar, West Bengal. She has been involved in the UESI ministry ever since her early University days as a student leader and now as a senior advisor of the UBKV EU and a member in UESI CND. Writing is one of her favourite hobbies.