April 2020 – As the year goes by, the world is going through a rough situation, as we endure the pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Government and Health authorities in all countries are asking that we stay home, and if getting out of the house is necessary, to take the proper precautions to lower the chances of contracting and spreading this dangerous virus.
But as all these is going on in the world, we all are trying to stay as calm and positive as we can. This week of April marked, for us Christians, the Holy Week: the remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. These events provide, those of us who believe in Jesus’ trials, the strength to endure these difficult times and help us have hope for a better future.
I share with you a message of hope and faith I received from a dear friend I met on Twitter, @LJ_Believe from United Kingdom. She has some health issues that she deals with on her daily life. She lives with her 9 year old daughter R. and her sixty-something years old mom C. Recently, LJ has been struggling with symptoms of pneumonia and the doctors have asked her to isolate as much as she possibly can from her family, and that each of them isolate from each other. If you think it’s difficult to isolate from your family and friends who live apart from you, imagine isolating and staying distant from the ones that live with you.
Here is her message to all of us:
Warm and sincere greetings of joy and hope to you through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
What strange days we are living through! As many of you will have realized, I (LJ) am at a very high risk from COVID-19 due to multiple chronic underlying conditions, consequently we are all three in full house isolation for a minimum of 12 weeks. These are strange days indeed, each of us isolated and all of us united in one common cause. There is so much fear, so much doubt, so much sorrow. It is easy to forget the joys and beauty of Spring when we feel imprisoned by the four walls of our own homes and weighed down by the news the television and newspapers bring each day. Yet Spring has arrived and in the quiet, caused by the lack of traffic, it is possible to hear the birds singing their daily praises with more precision and clarity than when we were distracted by our usual routines.
The grass is alive in its many hues of green and the trees are becoming heavier with bud and leaf. Life is stirring, renewing, regenerating, we need only to look hard enough and all around us nature is showing us new beginnings. Birds are beginning to build nests, seagulls in particular like the rooftops where we live and no matter how anyone feels about those feathered fiends, watching the chicks hatch and grow is a truly beautiful, entertaining and remarkable feat of nature. Although finding half eaten crabs in the garden or on the drive (in) is not so joyous!
As we turn our hearts and minds towards Easter, this year the great suffering, great hardship, great trials and great sorrow of Jesus seem very real. He is a Saviour who truly understand suffering, pain and despair and yet, Easter is not a story about an ending. It is not a story a t all! It is a clarion call to action of heart and soul. It is the factual reality of an eternal miracle. Death defeated. Love and mercy victorious. A Saviour risen and the most remarkable gift left behind, the Holy Spirit, to guide His people. Ever present and right here, right now. With me, with you, with all of us.
Many people are feeling afraid and defeated because this pandemic is silent and invisible but we are not alone in this fight.
I do not see the Holy Spirit with my waking eyes, nor do I readily hear Him in the midst of the noise of my own thoughts and talk, but I feel Him and know He is right here. He is here guiding, protecting and interceding. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. He is here, just as the air I breathe is here. In joy and laughter, in fear and doubt, in anger and desperation, in despair and sorrow, in all expectations and every single uncertainty – always He is right here.
This isolation that we are living through can separate us from each other, although that distance need be nothing more than geography if we hold each other in love and prayer and nothing, nothing can isolate us or separate us from the love and presence of God.
I love the words of Paul in Romans 8:38-9: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
There is no doubt that the days we are living through are strange indeed, unprecedented seems to be the most popular term! In our house we now spend hours wiping down and washing groceries, cleaning materials and packages bought for us by an incredible volunteer whom we have never seen or met. Our local council gave us her telephone number and we are so very grateful to her.
Our hands are sore, dry and red from the copious amount of hand washing! We have a renewed and more intense appreciation of the garden, even mowing the grass!
We are thankful for things usually so overlooked like toilet paper and soap! We are more keenly grateful for the food in the fridge, in the cupboards and on the table.
We stand on the doorstep each Thursday at 8 pm and cheer and applaud the courage and commitment of the NHS (National Healthcare System in the U.K.) and key workers. This makes us feel closer to the people living on our road, even those whose names we do not know.
We are more acutely aware and grateful for essential services including the removal of rubbish and recycling, the maintenance of water pipes and sewers, those individuals who process and serve the food we buy. The bin man, the shop assistant, the maintenance crew, the post man the delivery worker, the care worker, the nurse, the doctor – all are heroes now; and perhaps each of us are more keenly aware of our gratitude, a gratitude we should always feel.
Our front window displays a poster thanking our NHS heroes and decorated with a rainbow. Children’s pictures of rainbows are filling windows throughout the land. The rainbow, a reminder of God’s promise to us all, decorates communities across the whole country.
Each day we watch the daily updates (a prompt to prayer) with bated breath. We sat as a family and watched the Queen’s address to the nation. Three generation of women transfixed by such a rare event in shock for a nation and a world in peril.
Each Sunday we watch the televised Church Service, we sing along to Songs of Praise and we listen to appreciation to our own church services broadcast online. A personal experience of a congregation separated but united indeed.
My best friend sent Calpel (paracetamol) and toilet paper rolls through the post because we could not get any when R. had a fever. In return I sent my friend disposable face masks because she has to go out for essential shopping for herself, her daughter and her parents. What strange Easter gifts to exchange but what remarkable gifts of love in practical and relatable terms.
Yes, things are definitely different and we are undoubtedly people who dislike, resist and even fear change but I am so glad that God is unchanging. Ever present. I am trying during these difficult days to draw ever closer to Jesus. To reach out in all ways that I still can via phone, letter, social media, posters, etc. to those in fear all around, who do not yet know the life changing truth of the gospel and to try to explain how and why I am not overwhelmed with fear.
I am spending time in prayer, in praise and with the Lord and feel blessed once more by the incredible miracle that came about that first Easter.
We are much loved, we are all blessed, and we are, none of us, alone.
Please know that we keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
God bless you. Always.LJ. from U.K. (April 11, 2020).
Thank you dear LJ. As my mom used to say “Hope is the last thing you lose”. Take care of yourself and of others as you can. Even with little details, even with keeping distance from others, and staying home, we help. Stay positive. Don’t lose hope that there are still good people in the world, and that there are still good things to happen in the future.
I like to pray. I hope you pray too. I hope you keep your faith in this time of despair and uncertainty. Let’s all pray and hope that all these will soon pass. Let us not forget the message of this Easter day, a day of celebration for the Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. That we get through this difficult time together, even when we have to keep ourselves apart. Please know that, as LJ and her family, I keep you in my thoughts and prayers as well. Time for my tacita de café. Salud! Take care! Stay safe!
Para versión en Español, vea https://fullofcoffee.blog/2020/04/11/perspectivas-de-esperanza:-un-mensaje-de-fe-desde-el-aislamiento/