A few days ago, I read a post that said something like “It is now a matter of when we will be positive of Covid-19.” That post is now a reality to my family. The swab result of my wife, Hermely, turned out to be positive after she lost her sense of smell. Our whole family is now quarantined at home, and assumed to be positive as well.
What can we learn from this ordeal? What can the Bible say to us?
First, despite of the pandemic, we continue to praise God.
We affirm the words of the Bible found in Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
We do not just praise God during times of abundance but also during times of problems. This is very difficult but we learn a lot from stories like that of Job. He was insulted by his friends and even his wife on why he is still faithful to God. He continued to put his faith in God, and God gave him blessings.
So, if you are in this situation now, find a way to praise God. God will not surely forget it.
Second, find time to check on your family and friends.
Mental health struggle is real. We need to encourage our family and friends especially if they are affected with the pandemic as a positive person or in quarantine.
In the Bible, one person stood out as an encourager. His name is Joses or Joseph but was not famous for that name. His nickname is Barnabas or “son of encouragement” as Luke described him in Acts 4:36-37.
He was an encourager because he sold a field and gave the money to be used by the Apostles. He was also the one who vouched for Paul when the early Christians feared and mistrusted Paul. He also recognized the potential of John Mark even if Paul disagreed with him. John Mark later proved himself worthy as a coworker, and the author of one of the Gospels.
It is interesting to note that the name Barnabas is closely related to the word parakletos which is the word used to describe the Holy Spirit, a comforter and an advocate.
Let us be a Barnabas to those who are struggling today.
Third, be still and listen to the promptings of God.
You do not wish for yourself to be positive or to be quarantined. But one thing that will be available to you is that you can talk to God one on one, and listen to His revelations.
In the Bible, Paul did not ask to be imprisoned. He probably thought that he can do his ministry in the open. But he was imprisoned, got shipwrecked, had a disease, and many more. He used his circumstances to make a new ministry. This was the ministry of writing letters. Because of this, majority of New Testament books are written by him, and we continue to learn from his writings.
The words of Paul found in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 resonate to us:
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Yes, we believe that God’s grace is sufficient.
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on