I think that shock is one of the major, if under acknowledged, impacts on us of COVID-19 at present. Our world has changed abruptly and that has shocked us.
When I was a child of twelve, my world changed unexpectedly when my family went through a significant crisis. The family was never the same again as a result. I remember clearly the numbness I felt through that period of my life. I also remember that for months, when I would wake up each morning, for a moment I would think that it was all just a bad dream, but then, I would realise afresh that no, it was real.
This ‘state of shock’ as I call it, lasted a long time, and the emotional scars were deep. Also, at that stage in my life I did not have faith in God, and it wasn’t until I was sixteen that I understood and was aware of Jesus’ amazing love and grace, in all seasons and in all circumstances. It was then that I really began that healing journey from shock to shalom.
Shalom is a great word from the Old Testament that captures something of the rich peace or ‘Sabbath’ that God shares with us. It is a deep peace that involves resting in, and even savouring God’s closeness and goodness.
Shalom is something we all need, especially at a time such as this, where there is uncertainty, anxiety and even fear. Our children in particular need that shalom at this time, and they are looking to us to help them find it. Jesus does not take us out of this broken world, nor does he make us immune from its intrinsic hardship or pain. But Jesus promises to be with us always, and that his unconditional love can always carry and sustain us.
Praying as a Christian learning community, or as a family, is important any time, but it is especially important that we make it a priority to be regularly praying with our kids at present. This is one very significant way we can model for them the trust we have in God, that we can be confident that our lives are in good hands, and that we can experience God’s blessings and shalom even in this unsettling season.