Coronavirus has disrupted so many of our normal activities ranging from sports events, social gatherings, including church services, voluntary isolation, quarantines, and social distancing. In short, we have given up our normal routines and practices; many of these being our comfort zones. The situation we are facing due to coronavirus has physiological, psychological, social, economic and spiritual repercussions.
While the new realities vary from one person to another, some common experiences involve taking care of children or parents, homeschooling children, inability to attend a funeral or visit a loved one in a hospital or nursing home, and financial stress maybe due to loss of job. The truth is that, at this point we are simply trying to manage our daily lives. History teaches us that people respond to crisis in both adaptive and maladaptive ways, so I want to offer you some recommendations to aid adaptive and positive ways to adjust to the new realities you are experiencing.
Accept your feelings as normal
You need to operate within your strongest self and accept your feelings as normal, because this is a time for both personal and collective crises. Feelings such as fear, anxiety, worry, anger, and sadness are normal because the information receives from the media can be overwhelming to process. However, we often allow negative emotions to get the best of us. Believe me, you can experience the peace of God in the midst of stress and distress. Trust in God breaks the paralyzing grip of fear, anxiety, worry, anger and sadness. Entrust yourself fully in the caring hands of our Heavenly Father.
Forge and sustain social relationships
Coronavirus helps us to discover what is important in our lies and what is not. We loved to go shopping, visiting with family members, and going to church, the movie and occasional parties. We cannot do any of the aforementioned at this time owing to the social distancing restrictions. Our voluntary social distancing helps us to see the importance of relationships. By now most people own a mobile phone, and I guess you may own one or two. With the absence of church meetings, it is vital to connect with your social supports using virtual meetings and social media.
It is likely that people being bored at home may be inclined to bad messengers and pessimistic in their outlook on life. Therefore, avoid or limit your time with such people whose conduct becomes toxic. Toxicity may manifest itself in behaviors such as negativity, gossip, unapologetically opinionated, lying, manipulative, being self-centered on their needs vs. yours, and these negative behaviors can take a toll on your well-being. On the contrary, positive and supportive relationships helps you to feel healthier, happier, and more satisfied with your relationships.
Focus on the Word of God/Read you Bible
Following the outbreak of coronavirus churches have terminated all public mass gatherings, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are dying, and unemployment and hardships are present like plagues. One major silver lining is that many people are turning to the Word of God for guidance and comfort. They are discovering that Scriptures can help to make sense of the confusion in these tumultuous times. Make scripture reading a major part of your daily activity.
Try to sing some inspirational hymns/songs
I know for a number of us, including myself, singing is not our greatest strength. I am not asking you to enter a singing contest, but simply to make a joyful sound; being yourself when you are singing. You can find hundreds of inspirational songs in any song book, hymn book, YouTube or Google. Singing can help improve your health and weII-being. Singing relieves feelings of depression and loneliness. Singing releases endorphins and oxytocin in the brain which lowers stress and anxiety levels. If you are persistent in singing songs/hymn, by the time we resume worship services most of you will be good candidates for the choir. Praise God in advance!
Be steadfast in prayer
Jesus shows that he honors prayer is his wonderful promise: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened (Matt. 7:7-8). His promise is a solemn one by which He pledges His divine word. It is a comprehensive and unconditional promise to his people., and
We cannot be selfish in our prayers. The Lord’s prayer (Matt. 6:9-13) teaches us to remember the needs of others. Please remember those who are lonely at home, which includes the elderly in nursing homes, the mentally ill and addicts who are asked to live without their support groups. Remember in your prayers the frontline workers, which includes doctors, nurses, and other medical staff who often stay away from their families because they are afraid of taking coronavirus home. Pray for EMT workers who work the closest with people sick with coronavirus from the point of picking them at home and transporting them to the hospital. Pray for public transport employees, which includes bus and train drivers, and UPS and FEDEX delivery drivers. Pray for all God’s people!
Pray for the forgiveness of the Nation’s sins, and a national revival. Listen to God’s word of assurance:
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land (II Chronicles 7:13-14).
Listen to Hosea 6:1-3: "Come, let us return to the Lord! He has torn us in pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time, he will restore us so we can live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring."
Praise God Unceasingly
Every morning you get up, praise God! Every night you get in bed, praise God for His Goodness! Living a life of praise is not only the most enjoyable way to live, but it’s also one of the most powerful ways to change your life. Your faith isn’t complete without praise. Colossians 2:7 says that you abound in faith with thanksgiving. Praise affects you, it affects the devil, and it affects God. It touches everything and every part of your life.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice (Phil. 4:4-8).
Paul didn’t just say it once; he said it twice. He didn’t want anyone thinking he had made a mistake or that there were exceptions to what he said. We are always supposed to be rejoicing in the Lord. It’s a command, not a suggestion to do it if we feel like it.
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home:
Yours In Christ’s Service
Rev. Dr. Peter E. Grinion, Pastor