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Keeping faith during dark times

January 2021 surely offers much to talk about. Do we start with the pandemic and all the friends and family we’ve lost from it? Do we discuss the COVID-19 vaccine or the new government administration? Or, do we go directly to the weather?

There are lots of reasons to feel unsure and nervous about what is coming down the road for us. And yet, doubt is not unusual, even for a Christian.From the recent months the focus has been on anger, anxiety, bitterness, depression, doubt, and fear to the point of exhaustion from watching the never-ending news broadcasts.

Pandemic news has been continual for a year now. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week of ‘breaking news’ has given fuel to anxiety, depression, bitterness, and grief.

Before the age of instant information, television had a half hour of news from 6:30- 7:00 pm. We weren’t looking at instant news 24/7.Looking back through the rearview mirror doesn’t do us any good, though. It doesn’t solve the debilitating emotions that tackle our everyday routines.This is a time to look closely at the truth of spiritual warfare. What has come to the physical world in this pandemic has also caused a raging virus against our faith.I can testify to that. Tuesday evening after a phone call with my mother, I was so sad that I felt every ounce of joy leave me.

Like so many others, she’s living in a senior home, in isolated quarantine. Meals are eaten alone in her room, door closed, no sign of life in the hallway, just many lonely hours with no conversation. This time, I was hit particularly hard with grief over her situation.

My reaction was to pick up my cell phone and type a message from my heart to my Facebook friends.

Within minutes, I had a comment. A good friend was praying for me! One after the next, a prayer was sent, a loving comment, heart icons. I had a strong, instant community of faith support. And they are there 24/7 because of technology.

Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us to trust in the Lord with all our heart, and lean not on our own understanding; in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct our paths.

Last evening, when my trust faltered, my Facebook friends in faith lifted me up. I didn’t have to stay in my anxiety alone. They guided me back on my spiritual path.

There is so much I don’t understand about technology and this age of instant information. I just use it. As much pain and fear it might bring, at the same time it is capable of instant connections.Soon after that phone call, I had a church meeting on Zoom. It was my turn to give devotions. I had prepared from Psalm 96:1-4, an encouragement passage about singing to the Lord, and delighting in our worship of God.

I studied this passage just a couple days ago. And yet, in my moment of stress, I forgot Him. But my friends were there to help me get back up.

Now I see again, that God was there when I cried out. He quickened my Facebook friends to give me help.Isn’t life really about loving and helping each other, not only physically, but spiritually, to be ready, be on-call when need is there?

Yes, how can we keep from singing when we see evidence that God is near. God is with us. God is our ever present help.

Yes, Jesus loves us. The Bible tells us so. We are weak, but He is strong.

Bonnie Donnelly is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Marietta.

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