Coping With Crisis
Most across the world agree the coronavirus is touching every part of the world, without exception. Early warnings came as early as December 2019 and the world leaders who were paying close attention began with preparation, Germany noted as one of the first to take it seriously.
Lagging by a few months, Americans are now caught in an urgent response effort, especially in the hotspots which are now facing death and illness in increasing numbers. We on Maui are among the more fortunate. Our Governor and Mayor have ordered all to STAY HOME and most take heed.
With this current coronavirus pandemic hitting our nation and our community there also comes uncertainty, fear and anxiety for individuals and our community. Just these past few days there are already many changes disrupting our traditional routines even to the point of suspending schools, social gatherings, graduations, church worship services and other aspects of life. Many of our residents are very concerned (rightfully so) about the impact of this outbreak and how we respond and cope with this crisis will determine how important ‘ohana and the spirit of bayanihan to be practiced will be, more than ever before.
Coping with a crisis as rare as this becomes an individual choice because each of us knows best what we need to do. For many, the first step is checking in with family and friends who are most important to us. We learn to wait patiently for the return call of those we missed. What a relief to hear their voices, read their text and email messages, and for a few, chat with them while they visit from their car. Sometimes it means making a quick stop to a grocery store for the needed 14-day supply, including medications and favorite snacks. Some could be seen hanging laundry to ensure clean clothes, bedding and linens are available. All prepare with the hope this will be enough for the duration of the shutdown. Those with technology options keep a running conversation going as the hours stretch into weeks and the likelihood of even months.
As for my wife and I, the way we cope with this STAY HOME policy and to avoid stress is to delve into God’s Word and lots of prayers. As believers, we take comfort in God’s promises that He is in control in all things, even with this pandemic. In the Bible, Isaiah Chapter 41:10 says, Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. This passage reveals to us the rich promises of God and imparts to us we shouldn’t be afraid because God is with us. And Psalm 46:1 assures us God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in time of trouble. These Bible verses give us comfort we are not facing this pandemic alone—and God is with us. When this verse describes God as our refuge, it is saying God is our safe place when we need protection from this pandemic. Knowing God is our refuge enables us to trust Him more freely. There is no situation we will ever face that is out of God’s control so the best place to always be is right with Him. To calm our fears and anxiety during these challenging times—I really appreciate what Pastor Rick Warren (author of Purpose Driven Life and Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church) suggests we focus on:
• God sees everything I’m going through;
• God cares everything I’m going through;
• God has the power to change what I’m going through;
• God always acts at what is good to me;
• God’s plans always better than my plans;
• God will not stop loving me; and
• Remember, no matter what I’m going through, God will go through with me, and you never be alone—God is with you.
Finally, during this STAY HOME order from our government leaders, some look to this time to finish some overdue projects and perhaps begin something new that had been placed on the shelf for later. However we chose to cope, let’s make it a time of personal connection, a time of creative productivity and maybe, even a time to take a break from our daily routines. One family discovered the fun of having everyone at home for a change, like having the holiday early! God bless us all and may the love of God protect us from this virus.