Look UP in LockDOWN

By Rev. Fr. N. Earnest

Lockdown is a concept that has recently become popular in connection with the COVID-19 crisis that the entire world is experiencing.

So, what exactly is a lockdown? A lockdown is an emergency procedure or situation in which people are temporarily barred from entering or leaving a restricted area or building when there is a possibility of risk. Lockdowns are often associated with phrases like “stay at home” or “shelter in place.”

As a result, the word “locked down” automatically conveys the feeling of being down and out.

And most people around the world will have that kind of sentiment, which is associated with the lockdown of your life’s routine, the ordinary things you do, and the kinds of places you will go about and continue your work, and your involvement in life has become very limited. So, the lockdown depicts the situation in which you are confined, locked, and unable to move about and do things as you used to.

My thoughts turn to Psalm 42. ” Why my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” asks the Psalmist, who seems to be expressing a similar feeling to what he was going through.  Maybe there was this kind of uncertainty, this question, this concern, and confusion. The kind of struggle which is seen in the words of Psalms reflects a similar struggle that is a true reality for many of us today when we are in lockdown and restricted. Like the Psalmist we may feel alone, frustrated, and very down and low emotionally and spiritually as well. However, most times we’re not able to admit that we are frustrated, down, disheartened, lonely, or going through a rough patch.

So, in these circumstances, one solution that many people would take is to deny what we are facing, deny what we are going through, and then refuse to accept the truth. And the challenge we face, as people of God, is that we must remember and recognize that it is okay to feel down. It’s perfectly acceptable to be depressed or discouraged.

Those are all natural and usual human emotions, feelings, and expressions. As a result, denying one’s emotions and memories of being down is not the right strategy for moving forward. That’s why, in Psalm 42, verse 6, in the first line, he was wondering, “Why am I downcast to Am I feeling depressed and downcast?” But in verse 6, he admits, “My soul is downcast within me,” and he admits, “I realize that I am feeling lonely, and downcast, and even discouraged”.

So, my recommendation or advice is that we all should cling to that statement. One of my friends wrote a book some time ago called “It’s Okay to Be Not Okay”. And sometimes, that sort of approach is something a lot of people don’t like to come to terms with and face the fact that it is okay not to be okay.   In the discouraging and devastating situation that we find ourselves in, we all take different approaches. We look for help, we look for support, we look for connection and communication, we look for a solution to the issue that we’re all facing, and we’ll look for help from the authorities, governments, and other superpowers.

 

To solve the crisis, but the reality is that the entire planet appears powerless in the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. In our time, those who have the power and control the armies, the resources, are battling, struggling, and being threatened by the spread of this virus and the harm caused by this pandemic. So, here are a few ideas that I like to make on what we can do in times of lockdown. First and foremost, my idea is that we should look back during times of lockout.

To solve the crisis, but the reality is that the entire planet appears powerless in the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. In our time, those who have the power and control the armies, the resources, are battling, struggling, and being threatened by the spread of this virus and the harm caused by this pandemic. So, here are a few ideas that I like to suggest we can do in times of lockdown. 

Look BACK during times of lockdown.

As a result, looking back should accomplish two goals. One, it should instill in us a sense of gratitude in which we express our gratitude to God for the amazing and wonderful times we have experienced in the past. It can, however, inspire and motivate us to look forward to the wonderful times God will continue to bring into our lives. 

Look AROUND during times of lockdown.

It’s human nature to only just seem to think only of ourselves in times of lockdown and difficulties; all we are worried and concerned about is our safety, our provisions, our own family, food, and shelter; all we can think about is ourselves. We should, however, take a moment to So, take a look around. There may be people in our immediate vicinity who require financial assistance, who do not have enough food for the next week if the lockdown continues, who are lonely, and who are unable to communicate with their loved ones by phone, Facebook, email, or WhatsApp, like we may be able to. 

Look WITHIN during times of lockdown.

We must focus on our lifestyle values, things that mattered most to us are no longer a privilege – we can no longer enjoy the kind of good times we had with our friends and associates, spend time with friends and family or even go out together for a meal. This kind of situation demands us to be self-aware and allow these changing times to refine us, help us mature, and help us improve. When we examine ourselves from the inside out, we see our weaknesses and strengths. There may have been circumstances and periods in our lives when we were very self-sufficient, and we may have fallen into the habit of thinking that we can handle it on our own and that everything is under our control. And then, all of a sudden, we are confronted with the fact that nothing is going the way we thought it would. And that should prompt us to examine ourselves and consider whether we need to change our ways of thinking. Is it necessary to ask ourselves this question? Have I been guilty of relying on my pride and ego for my self-sufficiency, and do I need to reflect and make some changes?

And most importantly, 

Look UP during times of lockdown.

The main recommendation is that we must look up in moments like this. And in these times of great distress, confusion, changes, and difficulties, we must turn to the great God, our Creator, and ask for his great mercy and assistance. Looking at Psalms 121, where he says:

“I lift my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

Where do I look? Where can I go? Where can I find my help? And then he has that answer, which comes from the depths of his heart, and that conviction which is there in his soul, that:

“My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

It is vital that in times like these acknowledging, especially in this time of struggle, distress, and doubt, that there is this living God who has power over everything. And we must look to him for his health, grace, mercy, and production; the sound continues; he who watches over you will not sleep or slumber.

The Lord keeps His eye on you; he’s like a close friend at your right side, and He won’t abandon you. The Lord will keep you safe from all harm, and he will watch over your life, both now and in the future. So as we look back, as we look around, as we look within and as we look up, beyond ourselves, we also look forward to the new, fresh age, we must look up, to our God, our Creator.

The Psalmist wraps up the beautiful Psalm 42 in verse 11 saying:

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.”

And while we learn to place our trust in God and remember that He is a living God, we will be encouraged, empowered, and able to cling to that hope in our living God.

May God bless us all and keep us safe throughout these trying times.

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