In his column today, Mitch Albom wrote under the headline “In a crisis, find the one thing that soothes you”. For Albom and his wife, that one thing is having a young man named Knox in their home during this crisis. Knox is from the orphanage in Hatti that Albom and his wife run. Knox was in America, staying at the Albom house, for a regularly scheduled therapy trip when the Covid-19 virus caused the shutdown of travel back to Hatti.
For Mitch and his wife, being able to watch Knox explore and enjoy the things that they take for granted has provide them with a soothing distraction during the stay at home period. Perhaps the word “distracts” could be substituted for the word “soothes” in Albom’s headline; for it is something that takes you mind off the current crisis that his is describing.
There are many words that come to mind to describe the feelings, emotions or reactions that people are experiencing during this crisis. The words fear, frustration, anger, boredom and confusion all leap into the mind. But what is the one thing that is there not to distract us; but, to sooth us during this difficult period? I would argue that one thing is faith.
At the end of the day, every day, we all must put aside our feelings of fear or anger or frustration or whatever and seek comfort in the core beliefs that we hold. For Christians, those core beliefs always points to the same thing – that Jesus came to die for us, so that we might have eternal life. Nothing calms all of the concerns that our current situation has put us in more than a strong faith.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
This is not to say that we should do foolhardy things to expose ourselves to more risk. Practicing the recommended social distancing and staying at home to slow the spread of the virus arte both prudent and necessary. They are also not selfish acts; but rather acts of concern and kindness to others. One could and should view them as acts of faith. Viewing them that way allows us to see them as proactive acts, rather than reactive acts and we can feel good about doing our part, instead of feeling like a helpless victim of our circumstances.
Bringing your faith to the surface during this crisis not only comforts you, but it empowers you to comfort others. We see and hear all of the messages that say, “we’re all in this together” (albeit standing 6 feet apart from one another) and “we’ll get through this together”. When you see or hear those messages, don’t you have a reflex reaction to look around at others to see if those around you are as afraid or concerned as you? What most are really looking for is are those people whose faith has made them strong enough to be offering aid and comfort to others.
YOU can be that person, once you have empowered yourself through your faith. Empowerment through faith always starts with the same thing – prayer to God. It is certainly OK to ask God for protection for yourself, but it is much more empowering if you ask for His protection so that you can do his work to protect and comfort others.
Another story in the paper this morning was about the role that many healthcare workers find themselves in as they provide the last bit of earthly touch and comfort to the dying in hospitals or nursing care homes who would otherwise be alone, due to visitation restrictions. Whether they acknowledge it or not, they are sharing their faith with those patients. Playing that role takes a huge emotional toll on those healthcare workers; but one cannot but see the hand of God in their efforts to provide comfort in those final moments. As you pray, pray for God to continue to give our healthcare workers the strength to play that role.
We cannot all be on the front lines of this crisis with the first responders and the healthcare workers; but we can all join in the effort through prayer and faith and by doing what we can. Perhaps that means making masks, collecting or distributing food, calling neighbors, friends and family to make sure everyone is safe or to see what they might need. Whatever you can do to put your faith in action will bring you comfort. At days end, when you have done all that you can do, pause and consider this…
“Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” (Esther 4:14)
Keep the faith. Share the faith.