In 1945, after the global announcement of the end of World War II, millions took to the streets in euphoria. Champagne bottles were uncorked; there was dancing in the streets; men and women hugged and kissed in exuberant celebration. The war, which had led to unspeakable death and destruction, was over.
Fast forward some one hundred plus years to the twenty-first century, as the world is reeling from the effects of a global pandemic, which infected one hundred and seventy-seven million and resulted in four million deaths, including 600,000 in America.
Is it the pandemic over? Is it time to pop the champagne bottle? Dance in the streets?
The scientific community has not definitively declared an end to the pandemic as a previous generation did so of the Second World War.
But many believe that the pandemic, if it is not “over”, is at least in the rear-view mirror.
But here is the greater question: are you coming out of the pandemic or is the pandemic coming out of you. These are two fantastically different believer mindsets but equally important in terms of how we move forward in Christ.
The pandemic hit many families with death, protracted sickness, loss of income and total devastation. Many, including this writer, felt the stinging reality of loss during the dark days of the disease.
Many people were so emotionally impacted that the pandemic become a metaphor for grief, anxiety and heart-wrenching loss. Experts have even used the phrase “post-traumatic stress syndrome” in describing the effects of COVID-19 on the mental, psychological, and financial well-being of persons.
So, given the impact of the pestilence, the question I raise is relevant. That’s because, if we do not find a solid ground spiritually, mentally and psychologically, we may find ourselves forever shackled by the experience we are slowly emerging from.
In other words, in Christ, we must find the courage to move forward and rebuild our lives, our hope and our sense of direction.
Fortunately, we have Scripture to assist us. God’s word is a citadel in the time of trouble.
Scripture speaks of how we are to regard our crises and challenges and not to see them as surprising.
The Apostle Peter writes, Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12) The fact of the matter is the pandemic was nothing new, although it had not been seen in this magnitude in over a hundred years (and in troublesome bouts in the interim).
The greater principle is determined though, not in being caught off guard by the occurrence of a pandemic, but rather in the quality of our spiritual resources when faced with challenge.
Paul writes, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8)
It’s what’s in us as believers that matters!
The pandemic may have bruised us, but it did not break us. It is important that both dimensions work together – that not only must we come out of the pandemic; but, even more importantly, that the pandemic comes out of us – that we release our fears, claim our power and move toward the brand-new future God is still promising us!
We must still exercise caution. Wear a mask, if so lead. Vaccinate if you are comfortable. But the most important maxim is to release the trauma as we walk out of it and in to a new destiny.