‘I have moments’
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - March 30, 2020 - 12:00am

As I watched one of the many news programs reporting on the Covid-19 global pandemic, I chanced upon an interview where a physician was asked how he was doing emotionally in light of the many challenges front liners face? His reply was representative of what many of us have been going through: “I have moments.” Yes we all have “Moments” of confusion, doubt, anger, frustration and by now, fear. At 2:05 am yesterday, I found myself having one of those moments in a bad way. Due to a secondary exposure, I was already a week into voluntary quarantine even before President Duterte announced the Metro Manila community quarantine. But more than the length of time cooped up, what got to me was the regular reminder or announcements that people with pre-existing conditions and who are senior citizens are the most vulnerable people. Alongside that, a number of friends who are in the frontlines or serving in government started getting sick one by one. Then there were the online “eulogies” from widows and orphans about a father they did not even get to embrace, pray for, or be with as they died or when they were cremated. Those fathers were around my age.

Given all the bad news and lies that flies nowadays, it’s easy to deep dive on your emotions. But fortunately for me it happened to be Sunday and that’s when we all tune in on-line to do praise and worship to the Lord. But on this particular Sunday, God must have sensed my state of mind so he used a couple of friends on-line so I could watch husband and wife pastors Jocel and Mylene of Life Church talk about Changing the Atmosphere and how we should “Speak Life” into our circumstance. I don’t watch/attend two services at two different sites in one morning unless I’m the one preaching but I’m glad I did.

The first point of their talk was for us to “Speak Life” by speaking God’s word and God’s promises. If you’ve been surfing on social media alongside watching the news reports, chances are you’ve been feeding on doom and gloom for at least 6 to 8 hours a day while cooped at home. That as we all know is not healthy. I even know some people who’ve degenerated from being civil to downright “evil” by posting and sharing absurd videos such as a clip featuring a “Devil bird” complete with Italian dialogue and another video about an alleged sighting of an “Aswang” in the Visayas. Actually that’s not so bad when you compare it to people who’ve been sharing politically loaded challenges and statements meant to bring down government officials. Truth be told you don’t even have to be a “Troll” or a “Dilawan”, all you simply have to be is someone sharing the losing score of humanity and dwell on the dark side of things.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” that’s from the book of Proverbs (18:21). I’ve always considered myself an optimist, an encourager and try to be a positive force, but I or we, cannot go the long haul if we don’t feed or input the “good news” or God’s word to counter all the bad news. 

In order to Speak Life, we literally have to decide to follow what St. Paul told the Philippians (4:8) “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things”. Not only should we think of such things, we should dwell on them, draw from them, share them and promote them. Trevor Noah, the late night host and comedian was recently asked how he dealt with the negativity and harshness on social media and Twitter? He said that he created a positive environment through laughter and somehow managed to establish that around him and his work. If you don’t feed the pests, they don’t grow.

As I mentioned earlier, we all have our “Moments” but those are temporary things. Pastor Jocel and Mylene got my attention when they shared the second point: “Speak of your position not your condition.” My moment or your moment as they say is where we are but it does not define who we are. As believers in Christ, we have become children of God; that is our position and in the book of Psalm chapter 91 verse 2 this is what the promise is: “He who dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.”

The final point of the couples talk emphasized on what many Filipinos have learned to become good at in the face of a deadly virus and while under forced quarantine: prayer!  If there is anything that has actively combat or fought off all the bad news and lies that fly, it would be the unabashed, unfiltered bold prayers that people have been sharing for different people and sectors in society. The most popular group to be covered in prayer are clearly the Front Liners, then family members and friends, then leaders, then the economy. The couple emphasized that we should “avoid being negative, murmuring, don’t complain – just pray” because by doing this we are collectively agreeing on the good things, good government and good outcomes. When we declare our prayers for good government, good officials, good policies, our prayers direct the outcome towards God’s will and that’s what we often say when we say the Lord’s prayer: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

I’m sure that many of us have heard what I heard and shared today, but as I personally experienced, we all need to be refreshed so that we can refresh others.

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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