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I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp

I see so many around me hurt right now. They hurt for many reasons. I hurt just watching people deal with current events. People, so many, are getting sick. They are getting sick and dying in record numbers. We started hearing about the Corona Virus back in December. Wuhan, China got it first, then Italy and other major countries, but we heard of it coming to Washington State early on in the USA. It has since spread very quickly. New York City is now the Epicenter with many other major cities and states also multiplying quickly. It seems like we don’t hear or see anything on the news that doesn’t contain something related to the Corona Virus, Covid-19. So many are asking the question of why or is it worth it?

The Effects on Jobs

As we started to see what was happening quickly, small businesses as well as retail chains, restaurants started reducing hours or shutting down for an unspecified period of time. The government restrictions now only allow dine-in restaurants to serve carry-out or drive through. We thought even within the past few weeks, that these changes might be only 2-3 weeks. Now this time has expanded. Day after day, we hear of this time of “social distancing” moving out further. Schools, including colleges and universities have closed their doors and companies are asking their people to work from home. Some have no jobs, hours are severely shrinking and businesses are closing for now and unsure if they can reopen. We know young college students and single mothers that have no idea how they will make it.

The Effects on Supplies

Another change we started experiencing was the lack of supplies. At first, there was a run on hand sanitizer. Next it was toilet paper. When we first heard of it, as soon as we were able, we went to the store and there was nothing left. We went from store to store, meanwhile hearing of people buying tons to save up, then heard everyone was out and some that really have needs to get some, couldn’t find any.

We continue to hear of people “hoarding” and then the stores started setting limits. Now the stores are reducing hours of operations. Stores are limiting how many customers can be in their store at any point. I’ve even read that some stores are telling customers what they can buy based on what is considered essential or not. In fact my husband and I just got home from a store and they had people at the doors counting customers as they came in and left.

I would say the hardest hit in this situation though are those who are in the medical industry, that need items like masks, gloves, sanitizer and cleaning items. It is a real shame that they cannot even go into a store to get what they need to care properly for people and prevent more sickness. I hear that there are not enough respirators and nebuizers to help the breathing of those affected and not enough hospital beds to hold the number of patients coming in with sickness. There is such fear, hurt, anxiety, and pain. You name it! This virus is affecting everyone is some way.

The Effects on Us As People

While everyone is so focused on treating peoples’ sick bodies, another very hard impact is what it is doing to people mentally and emotionally. We, as a society, get out and visit friends and family. It’s what we do. Many of us center our lives around our church and community. We are having to find creative ways to communicate with people.

Newer technology is making things easier, but it still is not the same. We are told that we should not go out anymore for long periods of time. At first it was 2-3 weeks. The guidance has now expanded until April 30 and potentially longer. It is hard and people are becoming very fearful, lonely, anxious, depressed, simply hurting people. The longer this goes on, the more difficult it is for people.

People also don’t know what to do with their time, since they are always at home now. Parents now play the role of teacher while making a living. The kids aren’t able to go visit friends either. Kids don’t understand this! Parks are closing. Some people fear even going outside for a walk because they believe it will spread infection or that they may catch the virus. The one thing that is really standing out to me right now though is the number of people who don’t understand or know how to cope with staying in all the time., the social distancing. They have no idea what to do with their time during these restrictions.

My Personal Experience With “Social Distancing”

Until a year ago, I couldn’t drive for just over 4 years. Medical reasons did not allow me to drive until I was at least 6 months seizure free. I reached that one time during these 4 years, but this only lasted for 1 month, then I had more seizures and once again that clock reset with me unable to drive. I had a few friends who brought me to appointments for whom I am eternally grateful.

At first I fought my restrictions. But what can you do to fight a lock down other than being defiant? Eventually, I had to come to terms with my situation. Thankfully, in the evenings and on weekends, I had the ability to go places because my husband even shifted his work schedule to get home early enough to take me places after work.

I Had to Grow & Learn

Ultimately, I had to learn to find things to do engage my mind. My husband and I took piano lessons and practiced during the day when he left for work. I learned and worked on new crafts and I wrote. I had to grow and learn to be content in the circumstances I was in. It was really, REALLY tough at first. Then I would be fine for a while. Then something would upset me, when I realized that other people were able to do stuff that I was unable to do. I would then become discontent.

I really saw people able to enjoy relationships and hang out together and I was unable to do that. Most of the time, they could each drive themselves somewhere to meet. I could not and it really hurt. That was my first experience as an adult really with “social distancing”. A virus didn’t lock me up, but I fought with a very similar daily struggles . I had to learn to accept what I was given.

It was miserable because due to my pride, I really hated asking people for help and just waited if at all possible to rely on my husband. That made it tough on him too. I know that he felt the effects of it too. He came home from work exhausted and took me to the store if I needed to go. I hated to ask him to take me to many places or do too much.

The Reason Why

I kept wondering if there really was a reason why I had to be mostly home bound. It just didn’t make sense to me at the time. Although I know many people have driving restrictions, which for many of us, restricts our ability to just get up and go somewhere if we don’t have someone readily available to take us somewhere.

Nothing made sense to me other than a quiet voice inside me that said, “Becky, I have a reason that someday you will know.” Sometimes, I didn’t want to hear it, so I ignored it. Other times I realized that I can relate and help people like me who struggle this way. I didn’t have to stay completely away from people. Nor was I contagious or worried about being contagious. There were no handicaps but I had limits and I didn’t like my limits. I was asking God and myself the question “is it worth it?”

My limits were difficult to understand and deal with. I never dreamed in my wildest imagination that so many people I know, would someday be unable to get up and go just anywhere they wanted and be stuck in their homes. They would be unable to go visit even family at times. They would be unable to see friends, unable to go to a restaurant and dine in, to go to a movie, to go to a game or even watch a yearly event such as March Madness or all sports be cancelled for that matter. It’s so easy to fall into focusing on the question of why do we have to endure all of this? But it’s the wrong question.

How God Spoke to Me

“… I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”

Philippians 4:11

This verse often came to mind, but now is even more important. These limitations became so ingrained in me at the time that this hasn’t been so bad. It makes me realize how important it is to write and encourage others the best I can and to realize a reason for what people are going through now as well. I want to encourage people to find opportunities now and when this is over, to encourage other people in their circumstances. I hope that we won’t forget after this is over, to reach out to other people who are going through tough times. To check in on neighbors, friends and family to see how we can be a help.

I believe that the Lord has a reason to use this in people’s lives, especially, the global church! May we not forget this time!

Perfect Timing for A Movie

I loved watching the movie “I Still Believe” this weekend with my husband.

[Spoiler alert] It is about Christian music artist, Jeremy Camp. His wife Melissa was diagnosed with cancer while they were engaged and he lost her soon after they were married. When she was about to have surgery, doctors found that her cancer was gone but soon after they were married, in fact during their honeymoon, her cancer returned aggressively. Melissa believed that “if only one person’s life was changed by her story, it would be worth it.”

Jeremy kept questioning God’s reason for what happened. His father even talked to him about reason’s for things that happened in their family’s life and his brother was born with Down Syndrome, his father’s church hand not flourished like he hoped, as two examples. His father told him though that “life isn’t full in spite of disappointments but because of them.” It doesn’t make sense sometimes, but there is always a reason and He uses situations in our life.

So, Is It Worth It? And What Can We Learn?

What are we going to do with our difficult situations? How will this impact us for the good and then help change others too? I think this is the time that we can work and plan on what we should do in the middle of all of this. This is an incredible time for this movie-to be released! We couldn’t even go to the theater because of the businesses shut down and social distancing happening all around us. This is amazing timing when we see in another family’s life that they wanted to see other people’s lives changed because of them. How can we use this pandemic and social distancing to change other’s lives BECAUSE of it? I would never guess how applicable the timing would be for this movie. Amidst the hurt and pain we experience, do we ‘Still Believe” and is it worth it?

What is He showing us now and in our future? I know that our church is using this opportunity to grow even closer, to be available to each other and to reach out to our world even more so with the gospel and love on people. We have no idea, but God does know! Jeremy took some time away from his music career then returned after reading in Melissa’s journal and her influence in his life. Using the themes of the movie, we can

  • Use time to realize our need to reach out more and in different, out-of-the-box ways and, to love more.
  • Spend time valuing our family
  • Find fun things to do together instead of getting away
  • Love being together again when we have the opportunity, every opportunity to be together.
  • Look for ways to help people when they are sick, when they are down and unable to get out.
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3 Comments on “The Struggle-Is It Worth It?

  1. I don’t know. I see so many people posting stuff these days about how to “make the most of” this time. Learn a new language. Read as many books as you can. Do a bunch of home improvement projects. And that’s all good and fine to the people who still have any semblance of financial security.

    I really worry about some of the people I know who were barely making ends meet before this hit and then lost their jobs. They aren’t going to be buying books on learning Spanish in the next month. They are going to be thinking about the fact that they can’t make rent, they can’t buy food (let alone waste endless sums on hoarding food to prevent others from getting what’s theirs). And their poor kids are at home to witness their agony.

    They can’t even put in a lot of effort into working on their resume and applying for jobs because no businesses are hiring and won’t be for the foreseeable future. Instead, they get to sit at home all day and all night and brood, by government mandate – even in areas that are not affected by the illness (and frankly, even the worst-affected areas are nowhere near the doomsday scenarios that have been flying about, not even Washington state or New York City). They get to brood for a month, and sometimes even longer. I’ve been making an effort to stay in contact with these people, because I don’t want to think about where their minds will go if they are totally alone.

    Honestly, I think the main reason our government has compounded an epidemic of pneumonia, which could have been managed smarter and cheaper, with an unfathomable financial crisis is that we now have a generation of leaders who started off lacking faith. This is not a country anymore where policymakers broadly think they dwell in a city on a hill or are chosen for some higher purpose. Instead they obsess over protecting what’s theirs in the short term, and they all have a different definition of what’s theirs. Our policymakers took this crisis so seriously that they fought for weeks over what nonsensical pork spending they could fit into a relief bill. But they look very, very grave on cable news, strutting and performing for a fearful public and ramping up the panic.

    It has made me consider that maybe God is not punishing our decadent society with a physical plague at all, but an emotional one. One that reveals, through epic catastrophe, what it looks like to be separated from Him.

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