During this period of pandemic, virtually everyone has witnessed or experienced sweeping changes in life.
Individuals may have suffered from the coronavirus or may know someone who has. People have lost work due to layoffs or business shutdowns. Others have endured increased challenges working from home, adapting to a different schedule or limited resources. Students and families have struggled with the changes in education, navigating through the frustration and uncertainty of distance learning due to school closures and online instruction.
Churches and other religious places of worship have had to alter their operations while their congregations strive to practice faith isolated from their communities. Individuals and groups of all kinds and ages have been trying to cope with the social impact of COVID-19, as physical distancing protocols have greatly affected public gatherings of all sorts.
God’s Protection and Guidance
At a time when unemployment rates continue to soar, science and government officials scurry to find solutions to combat frightening medical statistics, and the public yearns for a return to normalcy, mental health is most definitely being tested.
But while this coronavirus has tremendously affected people’s physical and emotional states, one could understand if their spiritual strength were also to waver.
In times of crisis, it is common for people to turn away from their faith and reliance on God. Many people question how an all-loving God can be present amid such pain and distress, doubting not only his existence but also God’s desire and capacity to help in time of need.
Yet, as our faith teaches and has shown over the centuries, our Lord always reveals himself and remains steady in his comfort, protection and guidance.
The Spirit Is Moving
If one is open to receiving him, Christ promises to journey with us no matter what the moment or experience. Particularly during these days of hardship, our Lord wishes to walk by our side, just as he assured the apostles prior to his glorious ascension into heaven.
Through the Holy Spirit, God is present and alongside us as the Paraclete, defending and advocating for us. Yet, in addition to providing a spiritual connection, Jesus works through others on earth so we may feel and recognize him in tangible ways.
So many of us can speak about how overwhelming life can seem during difficult times currently. However, whether it be through a pick-me-up text from a friend or a surprise car parade to wish us a happy birthday from a safe distance, God is always sending reminders we are not alone.
After a video conference call with family or church members, or an unexpected gift on our doorstep, we can inherently feel encouraged and uplifted, sensing God telling us there is no reason to fear.
Taking a Look in the Good Book
As we come to humble ourselves by acknowledging our need for God, we can feel his reassurance when we refer to Sacred Scripture, in writing or in song.
It should not be enough, however, to simply open the Bible and read Scripture passages. One can also reflect on God’s lessons, delving more deeply into their messages and meanings.
It Pays to Pray
Conducting novenas or praying the Rosary regularly can further open us to God and his direction during our moments of worry or discomfort.
Prayer can provide tranquility in a time of great anxiety, alleviating stress and despair.
Through general or specific prayer, we call upon Jesus’ Divine Mercy, inviting him into our hearts just as he extends the same invitation. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, prayer offers each of us an opportunity to know Christ as he longs to know each of us:
“The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.”CCC 2560
Leaving It with God
So, as we continue to venture through uncertainty we can remain confident, trusting God is at work leading and never forsaking his children.
Yes, the odds may sometimes seem against us, but rooted in faith, we can turn to the Lord as our Higher Power for strength and encouragement.
It is through relying on God that we will learn and grow through his help, emerging victorious over our obstacles and trials.
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Matt Charbonneau is a high school religious education teacher who inspires his students to explore a deeper relationship with God. Applying uplifting lessons, engaging activities and insightful experiences, he strives to demonstrate the powerful presence and unconditional love of God in everyday life. For more of Matt’s writing, visit God’s Giveaways at www.mattcharbonneau.com.