I have a question for you. On the surface it will probably seem like a simple question and you might be inclined to give the predictable, expected answer without really thinking. But I don’t want you to do that. Instead, I want you to examine your own heart. My question is this: Has uncertainty in the world today or the loss of personal connection with your church family caused you to feel uncertain or disconnected from your faith?
I find that most of us, when we come under pressure, retreat and circle the wagons to protect ourselves and our families. That survival instinct is completely human and totally understandable. I don’t know anyone who has been totally immune from experiencing change on multiple fronts. And I know that many have experienced great hardship as we continue to struggle with the ongoing, multi-faceted effects of this global pandemic. Church experience certainly has, and likely will continue to change over the next several months. But we need to remind ourselves that our weekly church programs, though important, are not synonymous with faith in Christ, or the message of the Gospel.
So I will return to my original question. Are you feeling uncertain or disconnected from your faith? We all want to give the pat answer that says, “Of course not!” But I understand those feelings of uncertainty and disconnection! I know that kingdom endeavours are much harder these days when we are fighting just to keep up with all the changes and stay positive. I too have worries and cares that are sometimes difficult to set aside. There are many things to think about and so many unanswered questions. It would be easy to focus inwardly and just look after myself and my family. But I want my life to count for something greater than just me.
During this pandemic, we have heard so much about how the virus affects the elderly. The outbreaks in long term care homes have shocked and appalled us. How sad it has been to hear of the horrible conditions, the underpaid staff, the poorly cared for residents and, of course, the high number of covid outbreaks. I recognize the harsh reality that this forgotten generation often suffers in silence.
In Ukraine, I know that many seniors are not only vulnerable, they are virtually defenseless. They live in poverty even under normal circumstances. They have very little pension income, can’t afford their own medical care, often have no family to help them, and are often unable to leave their own apartments. I have seen some living in long-term care homes not fit for human habitation! I have seen others not able to adequately heat their homes in winter. The resources to properly care for seniors in a country with chronic economic turbulence are simply not there. Now, with COVID-19, they are even more vulnerable.
I want to be the kind of person that helps others even when it is difficult, the kind of person that defends and champions the cause of Christ! I want to be able to see those smiling, tear-stainted faces of people who received the gift of food, or a Bible, or vital home repairs. I want to listen as they share how grateful they are that God cares for them. I want to know that I chose to be a part of God’s redemption story.
I refuse to leave anyone behind. I refuse to ignore a generation just because they might be difficult or inconvenient to care for. Seniors deserve respect and they desperately need our help.