Life has changed drastically because of COVID-19, especially for students. We have missed so many experiences and learning opportunities because of the pandemic, but we have also gained something that many of us may have not seen until now: the perfect chance to grow our connection to God.
Hard times typically do one of two things to our faith life: they either drive us away from God or cause us to cling to him. While quarantine life slowed down for me, and although it was still very stressful, it also provided just enough stillness for extra reflection.
God allowed this for a reason, and I can’t help but feel that he is forging us through fire. Just as they teach babies to swim, we have been thrown head first into the deep end, but when we resurface we’ll know not to panic. Hardships seem to be coming from every direction, and they make it difficult to see which way is up. Allowing panic to overcome our senses just forces us further and further down, away from safety and God’s love.
Learning to swim is also easier when there is someone beside you to pull you up.
As we all learn how to live through COVID-19, we need to remember to help the people around us. Look for situations where you can be of service, whether big or small. This can be anything from buying groceries for an unemployed neighbor or keeping in touch with a person who is quarantining alone.
At bare minimum, we can be compassionate by preventing the spread of the virus. Staying home is always the better option, and although masks are being widely debated, when going out wearing one is considerate and not difficult.
We have to work hard to keep our head above water and not lose faith that God is with us through it all.
These experiences will change our entire lives, but because we have them we can be better people in all the decisions ahead of us.
It has given us a better perspective on all our problems. The little things in life won’t feel quite as stressful anymore, and hopefully we’ll be able to keep a more focused eye on the big picture. COVID-19 has also shown us the fragility of life. Death can be unpredictable; we can never know when it will come for us. This just shows us that our relationship with God is not something we can neglect or put off until tomorrow.
No one can know how the future will treat us. Cases and death tolls may rise drastically or fall out or stay where they are, but we need to remember to never forget our faith. As times get harder, people tend to grow angry at God and claim he abandoned them or doesn’t exist. If life gets better, people often forget who to thank for it and lose their diligence to praising God. We can’t let ourselves fall into these trends.
My goal for life during and after the pandemic is to strive to rely on God. I want to take the tragedies and stress and ask God for his assistance without panicking.
When all this is over, I want to be able to look back on these terrible times and thank God for helping us through it.
These hardships give my generation the opportunity to be closer to God than many others. If we can remember what we have learned over the past few months for the rest of our lives, the world could be a better place. Now all we have to do is fight to not forget it.
Sarah Duvall will be a freshman at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She attends Sacred Heart Church in Morrilton.
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