Just one year ago, who would have thought that a virus such as the coronavirus - or COVID-19 - could cause such pandemonium and paralyze a nation? There are many who do not know what the dreadful virus entails and those who refuse to acknowledge its existence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. However, failing to be prepared during a time of crisis could also cause severe consequences. Nevertheless, we must be capable of combating such an attack. As believers, you must not become so entangled with your respective busyness that you lose sight of what really matters. Proverbs 1:24, 27 says, “But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand... when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord.”
Life happens to all of us and stress consumes many. It is simply a part of living. Yet you must be mindful of the people, things, or circumstances that seek to capture your attention. You get up early in the morning and go to bed late at night. You grab a quick bite to eat from the nearest fast food restaurant several times a day without considering the cost. You never stop to question what you are consuming or how your fast-paced lifestyle is negatively affecting your physical and spiritual health. You don’t make time to socialize, to share, or to love because it interferes with your ultimate goal of surviving. You spend no time with family, don’t know who your neighbors are, and fail to build sustainable relationships. The lack of community and the failure of coming together causes the breakdown of all human kindness. Subsequently, tragedy strikes - it is no longer as the world turns. Everything stops. Has it ever occurred to you that because of your insensitivity and all the chaos going on in the world that maybe God is trying to get your attention? He’s tired of the selfishness and desires that His children dwell together in unity. “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
Even in the midst of all the chaos, no one is listening; therefore, other measures become necessary to get the attention of the people. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” As He observes the condition of the world, extreme measures become essential in order to help those who are lost and no longer looking for hope. Unfortunately, some have misplaced their sense of optimism in the midst of all the turmoil and don’t recognize their condition.
It seems as if many have given up on finding inner peace or healing for their problems; as an alternative, they choose to suffer in silence while wallowing in their pain. “The adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour, so you must be sober and vigilant” (1 Peter 5:8). Instead of paying attention to what’s going on in the world, you walk around with your blinders on. Because of your condition, you also fail to recognize that calamity is taking place throughout the world. This too comes about because people are lost, depressed, and anxious, not understanding that these circumstances truly exist. It’s easier to focus on what’s in front of you, as opposed to what’s happening around you.
You have forgotten why you were created and most importantly that you were created in the image of God. When this happens, God must remind you of who you are. He sometimes allows situations to occur that are intended to capture the attention of His people. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” During biblical times, God chose to set forth stipulations for the People of Israel to experience His blessings. Although Solomon completed building and dedicating the Temple of God, it was made clear that the Israelites should refrain from indulging in sinful behavior. The same applies today. Many enjoy the mercies and blessings of God, yet few take time to say thank you.
Catastrophes have always had a way of bringing people together. On September 11, 2001, better known as 9/11, Islamist extremists hijacked four planes, two of which flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Another plane subsequently crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. These incidents caught all Americans and people around the world by surprise. Individuals from all walks of life were coming together to help those who were affected by the unexpected tragedy. It was as if the Lord, Himself was preparing to make His return to the earth and the world was desperately searching for hope. Many were afraid and cried out to the Lord for help. As a result of this outcry, we saw a spike in church attendance, with individuals seeking to find refuge, community, and a place to grieve (Ferreri, 2016). Godly love for one another increased regardless of race, ethnicity, social status, gender, or sexual orientation. People were embracing one another, praying for one another, and encouraging each another. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before people returned to their lives of normalcy.
As you reminisce over the tragedies that impacted the world, don’t forget the mere fact that you survived. Your survival was not contingent upon your ability to overcome, but rather God’s unwarranted grace and mercy that covered you through the process. “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10) You were restored and strengthened only to find yourself returning back to a life of complacency. Yet if you desired to experience the continuous blessings of God, you remained thankful for all of the trials you endured and overcame.
Throughout the years, I have found myself in situations I thought I would never overcome. However, I continued to tell myself not to worry, that this too will pass. The greatest challenge occurred when one of my children became extremely ill. I felt helpless because I was forced to face a situation I could not fix. I was devastated since I couldn’t make it all better for my child. Another one of my children became combative, disrespectful, and uncontrollable in my home. I questioned where this disobedient behavior originated from. I raised my children in the church and according to the instruction provided in the Bible. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) My marriage was falling apart, and on top of that, I was struggling financially. Everything was happening all at once. Chaos was everywhere. This caused me anxiety. There were many sleepless nights, and there were constant tears of disappointment as I questioned why this was happening to me. I felt overwhelmed and hopeless, yet my faith in God helped me to overcome it all.
Many believers are now questioning what to do in a world surrounded by chaos. You have given your life to Christ, you study your Bible, and you pray often, yet you struggle with the reality. You wonder if this is what it’s like to be in relationship with the Heavenly Father. You also question, if God is God, why calamity exists in a world He created. In times of tragedy, Jesus reminds us of the bigger picture. In the Word of God, answers to overcoming a crisis and how to survive in a world surrounded by chaos can be found. “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Luke 11:8) You are different and because of your relationship with Christ and your approach to handling a crisis must be different. Remain prayer and hopeful because your Father in Heaven will help you survive in a world filled with chaos.