September 09, 2020
To those seeking courage:
As I write this letter, it has been more than five months since the country went through radical changes. There is nothing normal with what we call the “new normal.”
Nothing is the same anymore. Sure, there are things that remained intact, but the whole way of life we were familiar with is gone. No more going to the mall with friends, no more eating at the restaurant with family, no more commuting to school with classmates, no more acting in school plays with the theater group, no more data-gathering in research institutes with groupmates—the list could go on.
While some worry about the changes listed above, others experience even bigger difficulties. Maybe you are one of them. The changes were more drastic than just losing hang-out time with friends. You may have lost a parent, a grandparent, or a close friend due to COVID-19.
Some might not necessarily have lost a loved one, but are still in every sense facing a mountain before them.
“Baka si Nanay mawalan na ng trabaho.”
“Malapit na ang pasukan saan kaya kami kukuha ng gagamiting cellphone o laptop?”
These are trying times indeed. Each one is carrying a burden of different weight. Nonetheless, all are trying to move forward.
I may not know you personally, but I do know one thing. I know that you have a new set of companions.
Every morning, Fear pays you a visit. As you read the news, he whispers, “Kailan kaya maayos lahat ng ‘to?” Oftentimes, he makes you wonder, “Ano kayang planong gawin ng mga namumuno?” After a morning talk with Fear, you hope it ends there, but other pals of yours pay a visit.
I hear that you talk a lot with Worry, too. When your dad leaves for work, Worry speaks. She says, “Hala, baka kung anong mangyari kay tatay sa labas.” And you would listen to Worry. Then you ponder about how the new school year is about to start. To that thought, Worry would utter all day, “Baka ‘di ka naman makasabay, dati nga noong face-to-face classes hirap ka na eh. Ngayon pa kaya?”
To end the day, there comes somebody who sticks closer than your best friend. Anxiety says hello. He lulls you to sleep with refrains of an unpleasant future.
And that concludes a day in your life. The same could be said for mine. It is a familiar routine and a familiar day filled with the same characters.
I neither possess full knowledge of your present concerns nor completely understand why God would have it that way. I recognize that Fear, Worry, and Anxiety speak valid possibilities and realities. They do. Today’s reality is tough. From the country’s situation to your own personal day-to-day affairs, it all just creates an inward groan that is yet to be met—cries that require responses.
And there is a response, when we look hard enough.
When Jesus Christ and His followers were crossing the Sea of Galilee, a great storm came upon them. The disciples feared for their lives. Thoughts of dying lay on their minds.
There is a parallel between your present situation and the disciples’ situation. Both are undeniably great storms. The disciples’ fears, worries, and anxieties were justifiable. Real perils were present. At any given moment, they could have been tossed overboard, never to be seen again. Those difficulties were real—just like yours are today.
However true their conundrum was, they did forget one thing: Jesus was with them. Not only was Jesus with them, but by this time they had seen enough of Jesus’ power and authority to know that He could overcome. Yet in the face of one trial, they faltered.
Fear comes as we lose sight of who is with us.
We tend to magnify our problems and minimize God. In order to act against this, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Faith trusts in who God is, in what He has done, and in what He has promised. Ultimately, this faith rests on God’s character.
Faith is necessary for us to move forward. A belief that God can and will work through us should propel us to forge ahead. Faith gives rise to courage. And courage fuels action.
So, dear reader, remember faith. Remember Jesus. You may have become over-familiar with this, but you need it now more than ever. This is neither a call to halt everything and say “Si God na bahala,” nor is this a promise that says, “Tiwala lang, mawawala rin lahat ng problema mo.”
Rather, this is a reminder that faith is the foundation for you to take courage as you fight your battles, as you pray for the nations, and as you support advocacies.
This school year may be tough, but take heart, world-changer, you are not alone in the boat.
Your fellow student