Written by: Vera Mae Sta. Rita
It was a peaceful night for us when we celebrated the New Year 2020 outside our home. We kept our gaze up as we waited for some fireworks display at our neighbors’. I remember the vividly colored flames painting the sky as my heart leapt for joy knowing the fact that it is another year – a time for renewed hope in and chances at life.
January seemed to be a new beginning where many tend to have a positive outlook. However, events took a turn when the Taal Volcano, formerly thought of as the smallest volcano in the country, erupted on the 12th day of January 2020. This led affected residents to immediately evacuate to save themselves and their families from the dangers brought by the ashfall and poisonous gases. Then followed the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on January 26, 2020 due to a helicopter crash. The basketball world mourned the loss of the “Black Mamba” who was considered a legend for many of his fans.
Now, a novel coronavirus named SARS-COV-2, the causal agent of COVID-19, has reached the Philippines and many other countries across the globe. We have all been surprised by this crisis one way or another. In our lifetime, we have experienced to observe home quarantine. We are not allowed to go outside except for basic necessities. We cannot continue our usual routines and activities – going to work, spending time outside with family and friends, eating at our favorite restaurants, etc. Even shopping for food and other needs have been greatly regulated. Checkpoints are everywhere. Health workers are at risk. Thousands are being monitored. Worst of all, infected patients are removed from the opportunity to be with their loved ones physically.
“What then?”, one may ask. Many have been grieving the loss of their loved ones. Some may simply be waiting for everything to set aright, to get back to the usual. Some may be tired of just being at home while some may be taking pleasure to spend time with family. Amidst all these, what are we anticipating?
Have you considered that state of your soul while these are happening? Are you anxious that, all of a sudden, your hopes, dreams, and opportunities seem to be lost? I urge you to ponder on these.
In the letter of Paul to the Thessalonians, he gave a glimpse of how we should live in the present in anticipation of a definite future.
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10)
In this pandemic, even unbelievers can see a positive side like the massive drop in pollutants which largely contribute to environmental destruction. But even this world will ultimately pass away! How much for believers who will be with GOD in eternity? All the more can we hold on and say, “There is peace!”
Dear reader, do you have the peace that comes solely from Christ? Have you resolved to have the assurance of salvation, not by material means nor works, but one that is through Jesus alone? Not your earthly survival but life to your soul? Yes, there is peace and healing but the consummation is only for those who belong to Christ.
You may be waiting for a cure for COVID-19 but we must all press on for something way beyond that. We must fix our sight for Christ’s return. Until then can we have eternal rest for sorrow and pain will be no more. Exceedingly greater than the fireworks display on New Year’s Eve, we will see the grandeur and splendor of His glory!
But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:16)