Beginning the new year with COVID-19, but also with hope and expectation
The majority of South Africans had hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic would be old news by now. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We hear people saying: We are now living in the 13th month of 2020.
Right at the start of the pandemic, the synod of the Western Cape's COVID-19 Task Team said that we should probably get ready for a long winter. We were not wrong.
The question is: How do we continue to move forward happily in 2021?
1. Maintain perspective
This pandemic is not the first to hit the world and will not be the last. During the First World War (1914 - 1918) 20 million people died and in the two years thereafter another 20 million during the Great Flu (also known as the Spanish Flu). Derived from a world population of about 1 billion.
With COVID-19, nearly 2 million people have already died. The numbers will certainly continue to rise, but from a population of more than 8 billion. COVID-19 is terrible but needs to be seen in perspective. At the same time, let us not take our eyes off the other challenges (for example, population growth, poverty and the ecology).
2. Stay cautious, but do not be afraid
The church should set an example in discipline and how to deal with the virus. Simultaneously, anxiety and fear may not overwhelm us. It just breaks down our immune system anyway. Anxiety is not going to help anything. However, this pandemic also creates unique opportunities for the church to give a positive and constructive testimony right now.
3. Focus on gratitude
Being thankful is one of the best ways to keep your body positive and healthy. Count your blessings. Count them one by one! Look around you. Find delight in creation and find ways to support your fellow man responsibly.
4. Discover the gift this time offers you
COVID-19 also offers us gifts. We were forced to stop doing certain things, but it gave us the opportunity to do new things or take back old things we had lost. We hold shorter meetings, travel less and socialize less. However, there is more time for silence, prayer, reflection, reading and even writing. I believe we desperately need it now anyway. Make time for your loved ones, start a new hobby, study the Bible or start a vegetable garden. Buy out the time and take advantage of every opportunity!
5. Hold on to the Christian hope
Prof. Hennie Rossouw wrote the following about the Christian hope years after a dark time in his life (the death of his son, Hans). I cannot state it better:
Fatalistic resignation and conformist anticipation are foreign to the Christian hope. The Christian hope is an activating hope. It sets the conscience in motion. The Christian hope is an inventive expectation that anticipates what is to come along the way. The Christian hope does not allow itself to be overwhelmed by the killer argument that man must keep himself within the limits of the "possible" and the "achievable" in his choices. It is urgently pushing the conscience so that the boundaries of the possible can be pushed further and further. The indicator of the promise that everything will be different is at the same time an imperative for the Christian hope that everything can also be different (The Sense of Life, Table Mountain 1988).