Four ways to approach life in a COVID 19 world
by Pastor Tom Anderson
It’s been only 8 months since the pandemic restrictions upended our lives. We are coming into the first holiday season since it began and facing the prospect of cancelled family gatherings. Many people have gone in and out of quarantine because of testing positive or having had contact with someone who did. Planning any event from a vacation to a funeral abounds with uncertainty. But it can be said with certainty: it will come to an end. This will not go on indefinitely. One day we will come out on the other side to look back at these days. We will get through this even if we are not there yet.
We need a healthy perspective. The basic human predicament has not changed. We face risk of serious injury and death every day: traffic accidents, measles, influenza A, shingles, falling from ladders or stairs, food poisoning, boating accidents, infections and more. COVID is now an item on the list of daily risks. Sickness and mortality are nothing new. The pandemic has heightened our awareness of one of many serious risks of human life in this world. Recapturing a healthy perspective will be key to our whole population moving forward.
What do we do? John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens while you are making other plans.” We need to find the balance between living today fully and planning for tomorrow. I once cut myself on a table saw. It was a minor wound that required no more than a band-aid. But in the days following it, I remember thinking about what could have happened--like maybe an amputation! In just an instant, my life could have looked very different. Such thoughts change me and I wanted to see each day as a gift to be fully lived and valued. One of the gifts of COVID is to shift our perspective on life, to stop putting things off--like living for Jesus--and to be more intentional about engaging daily life.
How do we live? An enormous reservoir of fear and anxiety has built up in our nation. It all stems from what appears to be an unknowable future. It’s a powerful force, strong enough to put most of life on a pause. Here is where Christian faith speaks the loudest: the future is certain! The future is an eternity with Jesus Christ in the fullness of his Kingdom. It is true that we have to leave this world to get there but the good news is that there is a “there” there! Nothing that happens to us in this life can change the ending. It is secure and beyond the reach of pandemics, elections or stock market volatility. It is grounded on the resurrection Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3-6).
How do we pray? We pray for those suffering because of this virus. The unemployed. School children who’ve fallen months behind because they aren’t connected. The sick. Health care workers. The financially challenged. Those who have put off care for other life-threatening medical conditions. The addicted. Those struggling with isolation and grief. We pray for governments that must make decisions that affect millions. We pray in lament. We pray in intercession. We pray in hope. We pray in the spirit of the Psalms:
Why are you cast down, o my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Ps 43:5)