Personally, I heard about Covid 19 when I was still in the Philippines during the later part of December 2019. The news that it came from Wuhan, China and the lockdown there did not really caused an alarm for us since we are preparing to fly to the United States by January 2020. It will not probably spread to the US, I thought. We arrived safe in Los Angeles at the time Martin Luther King’s birthday was remembered. Nothing unusual in the city and all seems normal. By the second week of February my first daughter was born. At the hospital I would see the nurse’s computer screen about the Covid 19 warning but nothing out of the ordinary that would give me a hint on the coming tragedy that’s unfolding behind the scenes.
My wife, my newborn, and myself settled into our rented tiny room with a customized dwarf kitchen and a bathroom. After spending some time in the Phils and now back in the States I immediately get to work. I part timed with Lyft and Uber. I did odd jobs to keep my family sustained. As I looked back through the 16 years of how my pastoral career I realized that I have been blessed by the Lord even though I was going through emotional mayhem that only God can understand. I was moving forward in my ministry. Then I realized something is not right. I was abandoned, betrayed, and tried. I wanted to go on to serve the church but it was not working. The last conference I worked for really screwed me, technically abruptly ended my Doctor of Ministry aspiration, my pastoral profession, my church work and brought huge scar to my faith.
I was angry and it shook my faith in the leadership of my own church denomination. I consulted a lawyer how to proceed due to the financial hardship the leadership committee unilaterally decided against my favor. But I realized it will be murky if I fight it with them and the church members will be affected so I did not assert my right to fairness and just accepted the ramifications of my action and to accept their coerced permanent leave option. And then I was left in the cracks. I was treated with bad report and I was made to look bad I did not go to church for awhile. Few people had come to my help.
Then the lockdown in California happened. Then shelter at home order was executed. I was forced out of work. Another scar in my psyche but this time this is scary! I complied with the directives of the authorities. At such a time that I was going through the toughest financial challenge, emotional distress, and then the pandemic added another level of insurmountable suffering. My family was financially decimated and the scar it brought was beyond repair. The credit cards debt piled up and just overwhelmed us. The relief from the government was inadequate. The rent, bills, and other obligations are stressing us. Then the fear of this infectious disease put pressure on our movements. Next the worry of infecting others or suspecting that the virus had invaded us rattles our nerves.
Complete fear and uncertainty enveloped us. Covid 19 is a catastrophe that will linger for awhile and the next episode will be worst. Now, seven months to the day my baby was born, my wife and I reflected on what matters most in life today.
The answer to my questions is found in the Bible. I reread it to find relief from my anxious laden mind and worried soul. Foremost that I discovered is the assurance that there is a God in heaven who loves us and has a plan for our welfare and to give us peace. I believe this assurance. So my family prioritize worship time through singing hymns, praying together and just spending as much time together in our small room and queen bed frolicking, talking, and just sleeping early.
On Monday I deleted my social media accounts, many apps, and news outlets. I focused on my family. Enjoying the basic things in life with them. I realized that I am happier without being distracted with the world. I accepted our hardships and prepared my family for what ever may happen including our deaths with renewed faith in God and the freedom our faith has brought us.
We find relief in today’s chaotic world by focusing on God’s plan for our lives, focusing on our family, simplifying our lives and being grateful every day. We decided to help others in whatever means we can. A simple smile. A considerate heart. A respectful attitude towards others. Being kind. Giving rather than receiving. Praying more than complaining. Eliminating the unnecessary things in life brought us together. Doing well to others and doing good. Abhorring violence and dirty politics with lies.
Our healing begins when we recognized we need supernatural help and that help is real if we believe. Now, we depend on the supernatural plan of God for us. And we know that we must stay in obedience to His Word. Besides the worst thing that will happen is to die but the Bible already told us that death was conquered at the cross. Our faith had healed us, assuaged us, and had brought vision in our lives. Our eternal future is more precious to us than the temporal things here.
We hope to overcome this misery with the power of faith in God and the love we know comes from Him.
Our journey to healing had began and it will be completed when Jesus Christ comes again.