Today, we are all experiencing despair on some level. COVID-19 has turned our world upside-down, and no one knows what’s next. We’ve lost control, and that can lead to despair.
Today there are:
- Nurses working in hospitals who don’t see an end to the COVID-19 patients they must treat. When one leaves, another arrives. All the while, these health care workers may feel conflicted because caring for patients risks their own family’s health.
- People who worked for “non-essential” organizations have suddenly lost their jobs. Each day they see their expenses eating up what little savings they had. They don’t have much of an income and don’t see an end to their unemployment.
- Small business owners who had to shut down their business, which may have represented their life savings. The financial hole gets deeper each day—bills come in, but money doesn’t. Can they afford to reopen? Can they afford not to reopen?
- Independent contractors who had a good thing going in a strong “gig economy” are suddenly out of work, many of whom didn’t even have benefits like health insurance to begin with.
No matter how emotionally strong you are, you’re likely to experience despair. Some of us will only feel it for a day or two, but many of us will feel hopeless for weeks or even months.
Suddenly, life is like the movie Groundhog Day: the same thing over and over. Nothing changes, and nothing improves.
Take heart. Others have felt that way. The Apostle Paul wrote:
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced …We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God…On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us… (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)
Hope is the antidote to despair. We must place our hope and trust in our God.
However, this situation is bigger than we are. We can’t solve these new problems ourselves. We’ll only wear out, which will send us back into despair.
Instead, we must focus our energy on anticipating God’s response. Look for it. Be confident that He will deliver us. He always has and always will.
While we are waiting, there are a couple of things you can do to help.
- Move your focus outward: Take time to do something for someone else. Look for something where you get nothing out of it but the satisfaction of helping. Be creative in this “socially distant” time.
- Connect with others: This one is hard to do in person today, but you can still be with others electronically. It’s hard to feel despair when you’re with a group of people. Reach out on Zoom or Facetime. If you don’t know how, the time to learn is now!
And remember, out of these difficult times, good things will come as we put our trust and hope in Him.