How to Find Hope in an Unknown Future
“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, all things are passing; God only is changeless. Patience gains all things. Who has God wants nothing. God alone suffices." (St. Theresa of Avila)
When, if ever, will life return to normal post Covid? This is the big question to which we all are desperately seeking answers. For many of us, it is triggered by such memories of the prolonged lockdowns, the mandatory mask wearing, and all the other restrictions.
In a nutshell, life will never really return to a pre-pandemic normality. This horrific Coronavirus isn’t going to totally disappear and so inevitably, our lives will change. The important question is: to what degree?
The Chinese word for crisis consists of two characters, namely one representing danger and the other, opportunity. These are two important words for us to reflect upon at this particular time in our lives. As we are all only too aware, we are now living in a time of great crisis. This suffering due to the Covid pandemic is causing an overwhelming grief which is uniting the world.
Human suffering is hard to understand. Some see it as a natural and unfortunate part of life. Others see it as a mystery to be accepted although difficult to understand. We can gain some consolation from the comforting words in Matthew’s Gospel (10:26-33) where we read that not one sparrow will fall without God knowing about it.
Also, we are reassured that we are worth much more to Him than sparrows. However, while God loves the sparrow and each one of us, He does not necessarily prevent sparrows and humans from falling!
Author, Rabbi Harold Kushner, in his book ‘When Bad Things Happen to Good People, said that when God created the natural world, he withheld one quality he gave to only human beings – the ability to differentiate between good and bad and that ‘earthquakes, tigers, speeding bullets don’t know that.’
We can ask ourselves why didn’t God create a world in such a way that nothing ever went wrong. However, in His wisdom, he didn’t. God created a world in which we experience not only pain and suffering but also love, courage, faith, loyalty, compassion and hope.
We have to accept that we are not mere robots living in a perfect world but are human beings living in an imperfect world where bushfires, earthquakes, tsunamis and cancers, and now this pandemic are all evils which plague us unmercifully. Unfortunately, some people mistakenly believe these catastrophes are sent to us as punishment for our ‘sinful and selfish lives.’ God did not cause this pandemic. It is an out-of-control virus causing it.
Thank God, that we are now coming to grips with the effects of the virus and the new strategies of living with it. We also welcome the news that medical science has made tremendous breakthroughs in fighting this deadly virus which has caused the world so much pain and misery.
However, we too have to play our part. We need to pray for direction in showing continued generosity, compassion, love and concern for one another, and that our whole society will be given the strength to endure these present challenges.
We also need to pray that we will not remain anxious or fearful. That we will not hold on to negativity despite the overwhelming number of increasing new outbreaks happening at the present time.
Without a doubt, this year has continued to be a year of uncertainty, despair, gloom and doom, but let us look forward to the coming months with renewed hope, faith, joy, love and normality once again. For hope and a little faith are our hallmarks for our continued fortitude and existence.
Finally, let us remain mindful that nothing is impossible to God and Covid-19 will pass like every other plague and pandemic in the past. It will not be necessarily sudden nor painless but God will use this tragedy for the ultimate good of all humanity.