March 17, 2020
Today is the first day of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon. For those in Metro Manila and in other affected regions, I don’t know how your life has been disrupted by all that’s happening, but I know that being stuck at home for more than a week is already taking its toll on you.
For some of you, this crisis means being cooped up at home, doing nothing all day and dying of boredom. For others, it means finding ways to accomplish your requirements remotely, because you still have online classes.
Graduating students mourn the abrupt loss. You expected to have some time with your batchmates and to indulge in the nostalgia. Yet even that has been taken away, and you are left to grieve apart from one other.
Those who are less fortunate might also be thinking of how their family could survive with meager means while also thinking of how to reload their mobile data in order to join their online classes.
I want you to know that even in these seemingly desperate times, you can and are still called to be a leader. One of the marks of a leader is when you start thinking beyond your own survival. You feel that it’s not right to leave things the way they are and desire to see change happen.
But given these circumstances, you start to ask: How can I make a difference when I am in despair? How can I contribute when I can’t even leave the house?
As a leader, how can you take the lead when you’re very limited on what you can do because of the current circumstances?
1. Be the first to humble yourself and seek God.
Let’s look at the statistics. In less than eight weeks, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases ballooned from less than 1,000 cases in January to more than 160,000 cases across all continents except Antarctica.
Many nations have imposed community quarantines like the one we’re experiencing in Luzon. Our government is doing its best to respond to the health crisis. Society is still trying to figure out the best decisions to make.
As followers of Christ, we can lead the way by being the first to admit that we can’t predict what will happen nor do we know what approach is best—and that’s okay. In fact, when we are faced with the reality that we are limited, we start to truly acknowledge that we need to trust God and not lean on our own understanding.
So if you feel the need to cry out to God in prayer every time you see the news or realize other people’s difficult situations, He is inviting you to come to Him and find peace in who He is and in His presence.
When things become overwhelming, it is tempting to cut yourself off from others so that you can stop being fed with bad news. But if we are cut off from the world, how can we know what to pray for? Remember that the burden is not yours but God’s. Let us lift up our concerns to Him and ask Him how we can contribute in our own way.
2. Be the first to be responsible in considering others.
First, observe proper hygiene. When we observe proper hygiene, we do so not just for our health, but also for our loved ones.
Second, obey government regulations. When we obey the law to observe social distancing, we do so to protect other people. We should never assume that we are immune or that we aren’t carrying anything potentially harmful to others.
Third, think twice about what you share online. When we are prudent about what we post or say online, we avoid spreading unnecessary fear or wrong information. Checking the facts and choosing to spread hope and encouragement in the midst of difficult circumstances might help change someone’s perspective and direct them to God.
3. Be the first to see opportunities in challenging situations.
Even in difficult times, there are always good opportunities. We must learn to see and take hold of each one. Here are some questions that you can ask to help lead you in the right direction.
How can I grow in my relationship with God this season? These are moments when we can spend more time to grow in the Word and prayer. It’s okay to ask questions about where God is in the midst of everything that is happening. He wants us to ask and seek Him so we can know Him more.
How can I be a blessing to my family? If we don’t get to help out a lot at home because we’re busy with school, this is our chance to be a blessing to our family. If the faith level at home is low, this is the time to encourage them about God’s love and faithfulness. If you don’t get to spend time with your parents and siblings, now is the time to get to know them better and reach out to them.
How can I share the good news to my friends online? If you’ve been a lurker, silently laughing at your friend’s memes and dramas online, now is the time to reach out to them. You can offer to pray for them or listen to them. There’s always an opportunity to spread hope and life online if we stay alert and open our eyes.
Walk in the wisdom of God as you live before the unbelievers, and make it your duty to make him known. Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith.
Colossians 4:5,6 (TPT)
The truth is, we don’t have to be overwhelmed with the crises we face. Crises reveal our limitations and character. However, even though we are limited, we can rely on God and He’ll show us what He can do and how He’ll use even the most desperate situation to grow our character. As leaders, we can take the lead in seeking God, being considerate, and taking opportunities to reach out to others. God is faithful in the midst of any difficult circumstance. He is sovereign and He has a plan.