Sleepless Nights, Restless Days

Jello de los Reyes

August 03, 2020

Today is Day 141 of the quarantine here in the Philippines. 

We’ve been stuck inside our homes far longer than any season of Pinoy Big Brother. A lot of things have already happened in the span of almost five months, and to be honest, I just feel so tired sometimes.

Globally, COVID-19 is still claiming the lives of thousands of people. As of writing, almost 18 million people all over the world have already contracted the disease. Mind you, that’s like the total combined population of Israel and Switzerland! The global death rate is already close to 700,000 people. While millions have already recovered, new cases are still being reported daily. To date, the end of this pandemic is nowhere in sight, and the race for the cure still rages on.

Aside from COVID-19, there are other issues that are causing us anxiety and unrest in our country. The past few months have been really exhausting for all of us—physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. There’s just so much darkness in the world. Aside from the darkness that we see around us, we’re also fighting some forms of darkness within us.  

Yes, we’re in the middle of a “world war,” and all of us are direct casualties in this global battle.

Losing Sleep 

5:30 a.m. I’ve been lying in bed for more than nine hours, but the gears in my brain just won’t stop turning. I tossed and turned as my mind wandered from thinking about people, my work, my own emotions, and about the food that I miss.

As I struggled to doze off, the rooster from next door broke the silence of the night as the sky changed its color—another day of defeat in the battle for a good night’s sleep. 

COVID-19 did not just disrupt the world’s economy; it robbed some, if not most of, us sleep. Isolation, health worries, economic woes, and pent up frustrations have been keeping people up all night over the past four months.

We’ve been feeling a host of many different emotions:

Rejection and Isolation. “I feel alone and neglected. It seems like my friends no longer care about me.”

Family Conflicts. “I feel trapped. If only I could get away from here, even just for a while to escape the stress and the noise. But I have no choice.”

 Anxiety about the Future. “I won’t be enrolling next school year because of this pandemic. What’s gonna happen to my future?”

 Worry. “Our family’s finances are in trouble. How will our family survive in the coming months and years?”

 Anxiety about the Next School Year. “I don’t know what to expect in this new setup. The last semester of online classes had been a nightmare. Will I be able to finish this school year?”

This psalm of King David perfectly captures what most of us have been feeling: 

My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me.

Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest!

I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.

How quickly I would escape—far from this wild storm of hatred.

Psalm 55:4–8 (NLT)

 These overwhelming challenges can sometimes drain our energy. For me, it resulted in emotional burnout.

Emotional Burnout

Life has been a wild roller coaster ride since this pandemic started.

When the government announced the lockdown in March, our lives have taken a sudden descent into a world of fear, paranoia, and a struggle for survival. 

Each week feels like a sick journey through life’s twisted metal path, not seeing the next bend and not knowing when we will be thrown out of the ride.

If I were to be brutally honest, I came to a point when I just got tired of feeling anything at all. It’s not that I’ve become apathetic or something. I felt emotionally burnt out because I didn’t know what to feel anymore.

 Numb. That’s what I felt. And I know that I’m not alone.

Somewhere, somehow, someone’s feeling what I feel.

Some people just got tired of fighting for their well-being, for others, or for their faith.

Some people just got tired of praying and hoping for the best.

Some people have lost their sense of purpose and have given in to idleness and apathy.

Some people have developed spiritual complacency and have lost their passion for God.

 The situation seems to be spinning out of control. Four months into this crisis—still no vaccine, no cure— there is seemingly no progress at all. Not even the world’s strongest and richest nations could resolve the crisis.

As the pandemic continues, some people, even Christians, are beginning to develop a defeated, fatalistic view of things.  In the middle of my numbness and exhaustion, a still, small voice nudged my weary soul:

“Remember Who I Am”

“I am the resurrection and the life.”

(John 11:25)

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

(John 14:6)

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness.”

(John 8:12)

“I am the good shepherd. I will refresh your soul and lead you beside quiet streams.

(Psalm 23:2; John 10:11)

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

(Jeremiah 32:27)

Suddenly, a new strength surged from my heart. Light shone in the darkness that was engulfing my soul. 

When I remembered who God is, all my cares vanished into thin air. The next thing I knew, I was on the floor, worshipping God with my hands raised to heaven. How can I forget You, Lord? Remind me again of who You are and what You can do.”

In this time of overwhelming darkness, what we need is a reminder of who God is.

I pray that we will not allow the noise in social media to drown out the voice of God that reminds us of who He is. I pray that we will make every effort to silence the negative voices that steal away our hope and rob our peace, but we will intently tune in to the voice of God that says, “I know the plans that I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

 

Dear Child: A Letter to the Weary

 Dear child, 

Be strong through the grace that you can find in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)

 Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (Matthew 11:28–30, MSG)

 My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT)

 Give all your worries and cares to Me, for I care about you (1 Peter 5:7). I love you with an everlasting love, and I will continue to extend faithful love to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Nothing will be able to separate you from My love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate you from My love. (Romans 8:38)

 You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will (John 13:7, NLT). When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am. (John 14:3, NLT)

 But until then, fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. (1 Timothy 6:12)

 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

 Yours forever, 

Father God

***

 

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The Author

Jello de los Reyes

Jello is an introvert who loves to spend time with students. He once dreamed of becoming a journalist to expose evil in government, but God’s destiny for him is to root out evil in the hearts of men as a minister of the gospel. For him, nothing beats the joy of seeing young students surrender their lives to Christ. Jello currently serves as the editor-in-chief of ENC.ph and the campus director of Every Nation Campus Imus.

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