Keeping the faith in a world falling apart

Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar out.

What a year so far! Bushfires in Australia. Iran facing off against the US. A global pandemic. Giant Murder Hornets. Anti-racism protests (which I fully support). Donald Trump being…well, Donald Trump.

Like you, I have been reeling from this year’s events and 2020’s only half over. Having just come out of Lockdown, I then found myself uncomfortably confronted by the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Like most people, I would have never, ever called myself a racist. I’m one of the good guys, right? I too, have had to face my own prejudices and biases and gain a greater awareness of the systemic inequality towards BIPOC, here in New Zealand and overseas. My education on this topic is far from over.

So far I feel like 2020 is taking us on a funfair ride through the House of Horrors. The world is heavy. Our hearts are heavy – if they haven’t already broken, that is.

Where is God in all this mess? How could God allow this happen?

Such a good question.

Personally, I don’t think God is the source of all this mess. I’m pretty sure God’s heart is breaking over all the deaths, sickness, disruption and civil unrest. The problem is us. People. What we do to each other and to the planet.

Yet we can also be the solution.

I see God at work in all those who are responding to COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, in the generosity and creativity seen over lockdown, the people willing to admit to their privilege and to learn from BIPOC.

This quote from Anne Frank, whose writing I first encountered as a young teenager, has stuck with me all my life, because I believe it too:

I do believe that people really are good at heart. I don’t know anyone, Christian or not, who doesn’t have the sense that the world is not as it should be. That we humans, are meant to be so much more.

My faith gives me the blueprint for how this world was designed to be, and gives me comfort when it feels like the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Here are some faith things that have helped me during this roller-coaster year:

  • Upped my prayer life. I don’t normally follow the news at all, trusting that important information gets to me, but when New Zealand moved into Level Two back in March, I started to read and watch the news again to ensure I had the latest, correct information. And the news has been an unrelenting stream of badness. Most of the time the only thing I can do is pray for that situation or person. I often stop to pray when I hear awful news, and I have been grateful for my morning online prayer group where we our able to give our prayers and worries up to God.
  • Listened to Christian media. I usually have Rhema radio station on while I’m at home. While secular media was wall-to-wall doom and gloom, Rhema was an oasis of calm, measured reporting; with practical interviews on coping with lockdown, and they recently discussed the Black Lives Matters movement with wisdom, compassion, and a real desire for dialogue. God’s reassuring promises are played over and over through the great music they play and also through the wise teaching on their shows.
  • Studied scripture more. Over lockdown, God led me to several scriptures that stood out to me like never before, most of which were about trusting God’s promises.
  • Got out into Nature. I sense God’s presence the most when I am out in His creation. Over lockdown, I wanted to be anywhere other than my house – a forest, a beach, or a lake. Somewhere peaceful and quiet. I can’t always get that, but time in nature restores me like nothing else can.

What has helped you during this time?

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