In a moment, in a twinkle of an eye, everything that we know and love has changed. Some people called it scary. Others called it an opportunity. For me, I see it as God’s grace. I would like to take you on my journey of what God has been teaching me through this thing called coronavirus.
I’m learning to run to God as my shelter. Psalm 61:3 exclaims that “For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” It’s so easy to let fear control me. However, God reminds me that I “do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places’’ (Ephesians 6:12). Even though the world around me is in chaos, I can be calm, because I have a perspective on what really matters.
This is not an easy task because it’s natural for me to worry, especially since I have a disability that gives me an extra excuse to do so. Even before COVID-19 began, I sometimes feared what will happen to me when I’m older. I have cerebral palsy, so I’m confined to a wheelchair and need help with my personal needs. My parents and my long term support worker aren’t getting any younger and I fear that one day I will have to live with strangers or worse, alone. However, if I look to God instead of the waves of fear, then I will have “peace that surpasses all understanding’’ (Philippians 4:7). This is what I mean by saying that God is my shelter. I can trust him to always be there for me. I’m so glad that I’m not alone in these uncertain and confusing times, regardless of where my caregivers are.
Not only has God given these verses to help me, he has also given me really practical encouragement to teach me the lesson of his care. Through his grace, he has blessed me with special technologies that are making it easier to stay connected during a time of physical distance. I believe that staying connected with God’s family is so important, especially during this time when I can’t be near them. Since my speech is limited by my disability and I find it harder than “normal’’ people to communicate, video chatting with Google has been a very useful tool that God has given me. Let me explain. Google Hangouts has a place where I can type what I want to say to my friend while they can talk and see me at the same time. I can even use my normal communication device with the video chat if I want to speak, helping to clarify when needed. Even though I have to turn up the volume really, really high on my device, I’m amazed how well it works. One of my workers introduced me to it and it has become one of my favourite ways to communicate.
To tell you the truth, I was certain that I had to wait till the “crisis’’ was over to see my friends again. But by being given a way to connect with them now, I’m learning that God is still on his throne and he still has his people well cared for. For example, every Sunday my family and I attend what I like to call “virtual church.’’ I like it because this gives me assurance that God hears my prayers and protects his children.
Not only do I remember what the Apostle Paul said about the importance of coming together as a church body, but I also have been thinking about how important it is to pray for each other. He said that “I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.’’ (2 Timothy 1:3). Sometimes I don’t know who or what to pray for, but when I ask God, he always puts someone in my mind and I willingly pray for them. It’s another way of being together, even though we are apart. Every night before I drift off to sleep, I always pray for my church family and my friends from bible college. I pray harder now than ever before. As I experience God’s care for me in providing me with helpful technology, it helps me to care for other people too. Even though it’s a challenge not seeing or hugging my friends, I’m trusting that God still knows what he is doing.
As you can see, I’m learning how to stay connected with others. There are so many options to stay connected and to be a “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), even during these interesting times that we’re living in. God is teaching me that it’s not good to be disconnected from his people, but to stay in unity, especially now. When I think about how much God has cared for me and how he has provided opportunities even in my limitations, I know that I have no excuse to not connect with people. Instead, I looked at this as an opportunity to shine my light brighter. After all, I believe that this is why I’m here.
Now your turn. What’s your excuse not to connect? Fear? Busyness? Don’t let these things stop you from being an encouragement to others.
About the Author
She graduated from Heritage College and Seminary last April and is currently working at Kidsability.
She also gives some of her time mentoring a high school student who lives with the same disability. Olivia enjoys giving presentations to her former Elementary school educating students about disabilities and how to treat people with disabilities. In her spare time she reads, sings, travels, swims and spends time with family and friends.