Does it ever seem like 2022 is another repeat of 2020? These past few years have been like this winter: relentless.
As I write this article many things are occurring simultaneously.
Russia is in Day 14 of its war on Ukraine.
Gas, oil, and inflation are all rising.
I am home in Covid-19 isolation having tested positive on Saturday.
In a normal world, the last item listed above, testing positive for a disease that has killed millions, would be the primary concern. It certainly was this past weekend when I was experiencing “air hunger.” Before you ask, yes, I am vaccinated and no, I haven’t had a fever. Despite being vaccinated and taking precautions, I caught the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Go figure.
It began last week. I wasn’t feeling well on Thursday. I called for an appointment on Friday. Following an examination, I was referred for a chest x-ray. The next day (Saturday) I was still having difficulty breathing. I went to a Covid testing site and learned that I was positive. I have never felt so negative for being positive. Today, I am beginning to feel better.
Second on the list, inflation, affects everyone. The poor do not have the money to pay more for less. Everyone is having to make changes as costs increase daily.
Finally, the Russian war on Ukraine. Each day brings with it devastation, shock, and inspiration. Devastation in response to constant shelling, bombing, and missile strikes. Shock in response to seeing apartment buildings, neighborhoods, nuclear power plants, elementary schools, and hospitals attacked. It is shocking to see millions of women and children fleeing warfare in their community for shelter in neighboring countries. Inspiration is the amazed response at watching Ukraine’s leader refusing to abandon his nation in its time of need, instead asking for ammunition to continue the fight. It is inspiring to see the determination of so many to fight for their homeland.
How are we to respond to this trinity of calamities: war, inflation, and ongoing pandemic?
We respond with faith and with grace. Our faith is in God who remains God, no matter the circumstances. There are those who will point to these circumstances as challenges to faith in God. I believe that God remains God, no matter what we think or do. It is we who are changed by our faith, not God.
We also respond with grace. Grace can be demonstrated by reaching out to people. Reach out to people who grew up in Eastern Europe, Ukraine, or Russia, or have family there. Reach out to Soldiers, Airmen, and other Active-Duty military and to their families. Reach out to the struggling with donations of time or money to the Food Bank, Rescue Mission, or the Door. Reach out to the sick and the grieving with empathy.
We are living in interesting times. The trinity of calamities above may seem insurmountable. We have made it through hard times before and we will do so again, by the grace of God.
The Rev. Stephen Reed is the Pastor of St. Paul Church on Farmers Loop next to Mushers Hall and the Chaplain for Police and Fire.
Insight is sponsored by the Tanana Valley Christian Conference
Printed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on March 11, 2022
Married 27 years, 2 kids, 1 cat and 1 dog. Ordained & Chaplain for 20 years. Ministry philosophy - we're all in this together and Jesus leads the way. Hobbies: working in the woodshed, teaching, and competitive shooting