The other day I was praying and reflecting on all the people I’ve lost since the COVID pandemic. When numbers climbed over 20, I realized it was a little much. Then, I decided to jot down those I had lost a few years prior to all that, and it was quite a bit as well. Besides realizing I am at that age when I simply will lose family and friends at an increasingly faster rate, I knew I was not alone in this.
Each of us made it through a big world event we often refer to as simply “COVID.” We mean the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you believe much of it was caused by government overreaction or not, it was a worldwide traumatic thing for all of us.
My oldest was finishing up her graduate work in Madrid when the lockdowns began. There, they only allowed people to leave their homes at certain times, and it was regulated by using a system that bracketed people by their last names (e.g., A-G, can be out of their homes between 5 and 7 p.m., etc.). This was strictly enforced, using drones which actually flew window-by-window, announcing the government edicts.
Here, people were afraid to drive alone in their cars without donning a mask. Water, toilet paper and food disappeared from shelves. Even ships got stuck out in the ocean, unable to dock to unload, and all kinds of supplies and parts were unavailable for weeks on end. (I’m not sure this had anything to do with the pandemic, but it happened during it.) The absurdities were abundant.
People got used to teleworking or not working at all. Vaccine mandates drove people out of some states and definitely cost many their jobs. Many small businesses shut down for good.
Families and individuals stuck in their homes supplemented their human interactions and typical entertainment by overindulging in social media and binge-watching movies and television and by mindlessly scrolling the internet. Conspiracy theories about space aliens, secret government operations and more poured into impressionable minds. Families and friendships fractured as people engaged in cruel communications as they felt invincible with less face-to-face conversations.
Countless people felt worthless, purposeless, and useless. During all this people’s mental health declined significantly. Many families watched their loved ones break emotionally and never return to normalcy.
Simultaneously and likely as a result, recreational drug use increased dramatically, as did alcohol consumption. More and more people explored heavier drugs, while fentanyl flooded across our borders and into our communities. Drug addiction became prevalent, and homelessness increased.
Riots broke out and racial tensions increased. More relationships were broken through it all. Even political opinions divided what were once solid relationships.
On top of all that, the out-of-control government spending and many other factors led to a broken economy. The cost of living increased dramatically for everyone, and pay increases have not caught up to provide enough balance. With staff shortages everywhere, those who do work are overburdened and feel underpaid and undervalued.
Meanwhile, we’ve flooded the workforce with newbies, so those who are supposed to know how to do things and help others, well, they’re still learning. Many businesses struggle due to this, and customers and clients are frustrated with the service and goods provided.
While all this is going on, many young people have failed to launch in greater numbers. Media and gaming addictions have led to many young adults sleeping all day and fulfilling their screen time addictions through the night. They’ve gotten so used to not doing anything productive, they have no desire to try, and those who have some fraction of ambition are scared. Why wouldn’t they be? All this adds up to a scary world.
Crime increased all over our country as “soft-on-crime” politicians decided to release unprepared and unreformed, hardened criminals en masse back out into unsuspecting communities. Additionally, although in 2020 we had the most secure Southern border in 45 years, we’ve since made it porous and keep flooding our country with people we know little about. Apparently 10,000+ immigrants cross per day, and we’ve had 151 on the terrorist watch list identified in 2023 thus far. That’s alarming!
When things started going back to normal, many simply couldn’t adapt. I’ve heard so many incarcerated individuals tell me their families say the world has gone crazy. Their families warn them to prepare to be shocked upon their release at how life in the real world has become very unbelievable.
We have a president who is clearly struggling with his cognitive ability. This creates instability around the world as the top leader is obviously not capable of much and constantly has to have others making sure he doesn’t fall, doesn’t wander off, doesn’t ramble, doesn’t yell or speak gibberish, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe it is OK to be disrespectful to any sitting or previous president. I fully believe what we’re doing to this man is elder abuse and neglect. Ronald Reagan experienced a similar mental decline, and the public was never exposed to seeing him like that. It’s not OK to me that our president is put on world stages when he is struggling so much.
Add to all this we have a former president who is facing multiple court battles while the top presidential candidate of the opposition party. How does it look to the world when a sitting leader’s people are going after the top political opponent? Whether it is right or wrong, it sure looks bad to other countries.
Trauma? Have we been through trauma? I’d say we’re still going through lots of trauma. The world seems to have gone mad, and we’re all still in it, trying to figure out how to proceed with some sense of normalcy, purpose, and hope.
I don’t know how a non-Christian can navigate this journey. As I aim to be the best I can be for my family and community, I find direction, hope and purpose through my faith in Jesus. I find much peace in the middle of this chaotic world.
Sure, I’m concerned and bothered with all the craziness. Even so, I know my Lord is sovereign. I know He can help me through anything. I know there is a heaven above which is far better than anything this earthly place can offer. I live with great anticipation of greater things, and I live, knowing I can contribute to the betterment of my family and community even as the world seems to have gone mad.
When nothing else makes sense, Jesus still does. When so many seem so lost and aimless, Jesus still provides direction, purpose, meaning, and more. When peace can’t be found in anything physical on this planet, Jesus can give you what you need.
The pandemic prevented church attendance for a time for many. Nationwide our churches have seen a huge decline in attendance because of it. Still, we all need this fellowship God designed for His people. Just because church attendance keeps declining doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. One of the things that has helped me incredibly is having a church family where we love and support each other.
I highly recommend trying to get into a church family or back into a church family, where you meet with several other Christians for communal worship each week. It’s by God’s design. This system absolutely works. Our crazy world needs more sanity. It needs a revival. I hope you’re willing to do something which makes a difference. Find your church home and consistently serve with those people. You are needed and wanted; and you need others. If we’re going to turn things around, we have to be determined to do our part. Maybe soon we can help restore some fundamental common sense back into our world.
[See Hebrews 10:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Acts 4:34-35]