June 01, 2020
DECEMBER 31, 2019, countdown to the new year.
Everyone was full of hope; things were looking up. We all said goodbye to the previous decade and looked forward to the new one with faith and expectancy for the new things that God had planned for us.
Many people scrambled to get a new planner. We wrote many different plans; we believed for breakthroughs; we set our eyes on new things.
New places to go.
New habits to start.
New skills and hobbies to develop.
New people to meet.
New things to try.
But COVID-19 happened . . .
This virus took so many things away from us. It took away our freedom to enjoy life; it took away people’s jobs; it took away people’s dreams; and it took away people’s chances to celebrate milestones in life.
To many people around the world, the virus also took away moms, dads, and children—lives that will never be revived even when this pandemic is over.
In the midst of the disruptions, disappointments, delays, and death, do we still have a reason to hope?
Here are three stories from real people whose lives were drastically affected by COVID-19. The virus took so much from them, but God never left them in the midst of the shaking.
“After experiencing delays in my graduation, I finally qualified to graduate this summer. I’d been through a very long season of hardships in my studies, but the long wait was finally over!”
But COVID-19 happened…
“I eagerly awaited the school’s announcement about our graduation, but the announcements were never what we all expected. To make the long story short, the graduation ceremony was postponed four times because of COVID-19, and I felt really discouraged and disappointed.
As I looked at one of my journal entries last year, I was reminded of a verse that God spoke to me:
We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8,9 (NCV)
We had so many plans and faith goals for 2020, but COVID-19 happened and we sometimes can’t help but feel sorry for ourselves.
But God will turn our place of disappointment into an altar of worship. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up hope of living. Yes, this may be easier said than done when you’ve experienced disruptions, but God is reassuring us that He cares so deeply about us—not even a single strand of hair can fall from our heads without His knowledge.
Our plans may have been disrupted, and the graduation we’ve been looking forward to may have been cancelled, but God knows the great plans He has for us. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
— Reciel Fetilo
“Five months into our engagement, my fiancé and I had already started securing things for our future. We made a clear timeline, finalized our wedding venue, met key guests in our entourage, and negotiated with suppliers without much difficulty.
We couldn’t even believe that our very first answered prayer was booking our dream venue in Tagaytay! Everything felt so right. Things were going according to plan.
But COVID-19 happened . . .
The quarantine had placed many cities and communities on lockdown, including Tagaytay. As the quarantine continued, our plans became vague, anxiety lingered, and we were faced with a reality that we have no control over.
If only things went according to our plans, we should’ve been married for almost a month now and enjoying our new season in our new home. The past month should’ve been about the countless showers and parties that our friends have prepared. We missed the whirlwind of last-minute preparations and thrill of counting down the days till our big day.
But God, in His infinite wisdom, has better and greater plans. In our limited perspective, we thought that our timeline was already set in stone. But God is teaching us that He still has the best timing for both of us. We are assured that this waiting season is momentary, but the joy that is about to come will last forever.
While I was occupied preparing for wedding logistics, God was more concerned about shaping our hearts. Beyond the fancy things and the answered prayers, I’ve learned that the most important thing is the presence of God on our wedding day. Nothing can beat that. It’s the only thing that matters regardless of when or where we will get married.
We may have no certain number of days to count right now, but we can count on our God—the author and perfecter of our faith; the one who will finish the good work He has started in our lives.”
“My mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018, and I can remember how painful it was when we first heard the news.
I saw how she faced this difficult battle and how she cried so much because of pain and discouragement. Aside from the pain of her disease, she also had to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy, such as extreme headache, nausea, vomiting, and hair loss.
But her faith in God gave her strength, and she recovered from cancer in 2019. Our lives went back to normal, the fear of losing her had gone, and we were so happy that she was finally healed.
But her cancer relapsed early this year, reappearing in her liver. She experienced extreme pains in her stomach until she had to be admitted to the hospital in March, a few days before her birthday.
On March 16, she celebrated her last birthday at the hospital . . .
. . . but COVID-19 happened, and I wasn’t able to visit her or celebrate with her because of the quarantine.
Three days after her birthday, we received a call from my dad. My mom had passed away at 5:06 AM. We rushed to the hospital, feeling a mixture of pain, shock, and disbelief.
I couldn’t believe that the person whom I loved the most was gone.
At that point, I didn’t know how to go on with my life. I didn’t know if I’d ever be happy again. I even thought of ending my own life because of what happened to my mom.
But God strengthened me and helped me recover from the pain of losing my mom.
Because of God, I’ve never felt hopeless. God has made a huge impact in my life ever since my mom died, and I’m really thankful that He gave her to me to be my mom.
Of course, there are still days when I find myself crying and missing her so much, but there’s already acceptance in my heart despite all that has happened.
My greatest comfort is in knowing that she is now with God.”
—Frank Brandon David
We live in a world where disruptions, delays, and death are a reality. But in the midst of these, we set our eyes on the all-sufficient God who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death. He is sufficient for whatever we may need when we face any kind of trial in life. He is faithful to lead us toward green pastures and beside still waters.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. . . . For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
COVID-19 may have happened, but God will make all things beautiful in His time.