Updated: Nov 4, 2021
When I stop and think about all that has happened in the past year and a half it's staggering. Many have gone from "not a care in the world" to literally living in fear every day of their life. We've been bombarded on every side, from every angle, by every media outlet, and every politician, and that doesn't take into account the confusion from medical professionals that can't seem to get on the same page … all in the name of YOUR HEALTH.
First we are told that masks don't work, then we are told they do work, then we are told you have no choice, everyone must wear one, then there is the double maskers. This medication works while this one does not. Everyone is pointing a crooked finger at someone else, accusations are being hurled about from every player involved, including those normally sitting on the sideline. Lines in the sand are being drawn. Friends are abandoning friendships. In fact, adult children have even gone so far as to withhold grandchildren from parents simply because they don't see eye-to-eye politically. Meanwhile loved ones are dying all around us. Some of natural causes, others of this thing called COVID-19.
Then we had the elections. Wasn't that a fun one? Don't you just love election year?! Irregardless the outcome, someone is going to be upset because "their team" didn't win. But this time it was a doozie. And sadly the biggest looser was neither candidate … the was faith in the American voting system for many, many voters. We don't know what to believe or who to believe. Many have vowed never to vote again.
The reality is, I could go on and on, reliving all that has taken place in the past 15-20 months, but you've been living it just as I have. We each have our own take on everything mentioned above and more. And in the end, neither one of us REALLY knows for sure who is right, we just hope it's our team, our wisdom, our ability to discern right from wrong. Can we all agree that this has taken a mental and emotional toll on everyone of us in one way or another?
For many, they have simply lost all hope; hope in government, hope in medicine, hope in finding a cure for this killer. Many have lost trust as well. If they didn't trust politician before, they certainly don't now. For many, they've simply turned off the news outlets, they don't trust them anymore. Many are literally fearful of going to the hospital as the hospital has become a place to die vs. a place of healing.
And to add more fuel to the fire, I seriously doubt that there is a person alive that does not know of someone personally that has succumbed to this dreadful virus that has engulfed our globe. Sadly, for many, it wasn't just an acquaintance that lost their life, it was someone they loved dearly. All politics aside, it's real! It's deadly! People are getting very sick! And people are dying! Loved ones are dying! I know in my family alone, on both my wife and my side, we have experienced 6 deaths from July 2020 until September 2021. I've lost two brothers, a sister-in-law, and brother-in-law while my wife's side has lost a step dad and aunt. If there is anything to be grateful for it's that to my knowledge, none of them were the result of the virus. Still, that's six too many in anyones book.
Can we all agree that this has taken a mental and emotional toll on everyone one of us in one way or another.
So where do we go from here? Because let's face it, this is not going away anytime soon.
First: Let's just be honest with ourselves. Have you noticed how we all throw pity parties for ourselves when suffering comes? I mean, we enjoy "wallowing in the mud" or in the "pit of despair" when trouble comes rather than focusing on the benefits that come from hard times. We've all heard it said that growth takes place in the valley, and it does. I have learned that the valley is always deeper and darker, regardless the trial, when we feel as though we have lost all hope. When we feel the sun will never shine in our world again. But it will. Really! And once we make it through the valley, it is then, that, with 20/20 hindsight, we can look back and find the magnificent lessons to be learned. So just be honest with yourself. When in the valley, don't wallow in despair, rather trust in the Lord. Proverbs tells us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." And that include during hard and difficult times, even in times of death.
Second: We have a living hope and it is something that we can all claim today. In Peter's letter he deals with the "how" of a very important truth: There is a living hope and we can claim it. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1 Pet. 1:3) So how do we claim this living hope? By focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ and by trusting in "the living and abiding word of God." Living hope requires faith in the living Lord and His Word.
Third: When our faith is weak, joy strengthens us. No matter how dark the clouds, eventually the son is going to break through. No matter how heavy the rain, eventually the sun will prevail and hang a rainbow in the sky. The Psalmist wrote, "Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning." (Ps. 30:5)
Fourth: When all goes wrong, endurance will see you through. The word endure means to bear without resistance or with patience, or to bear up under a load. And in 1 Pet. 2:19-20 we find that Peter says this is possible by love, made steadfast by hope, and made easier by example. There is just something about endurance that stabilizes us.
Fifth: When our confidence is shaken, love supports us. "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Pet. 4:8) Love is a pillar of support when our world comes crashing down. That's why, when warning about the end times, Peter puts love on the top of the survival checklist.
Sixth: When our adversary attacks, resistance shields us. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world." (1 Pet. 5:8-9) When Satan attacks, don't run and hide … STAND FIRM! Resist him. And that resistance forms a shield to protect us from our attacker.