On the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic, South African leadership took the decision to enter into a lockdown period at 00:00 on the 26 March 2020. Despite the fact that most of us have spent months watching this unfold around the world, lockdown is not something you can ever prepare for. For many South Africans lockdown meant that we had to make adjustments to our lives, and do it quickly.
We live in an age where we are all connected by social media, and it has been the very thing that connects us that has fuelled chaos and mass hysteria around the world. Suffice to say, South Africa has had a split response to the news of being locked down; some people responded in prayer and listening to the instruction to stay indoors and practice social distancing, whilst others chose to live their lives unaffected.
The reality of life in lockdown raised concerns for the elderly, the young, those without the means to care for themselves and those that live alone. Personally, this raised greater questions of how to continue to reflect in a difficult time when we’re essentially unable to leave our homes or be in contact with people, and how to keep our hopes high. To most, life in lockdown has become a desperate plea to keep occupied, but there is more that I’ve found by simply keeping busy.
While the world waits
While the world is waiting for a solution, we’ve been given a unique opportunity to reflect Christ in the midst of chaos and fear. We may feel the uncertainty of the times weigh heavily on us, but that does not have to leave us fearful and in hiding.
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy chapter 1, verse 7).
We have a unique opportunity to show the world love, kindness and self-control. We can use our connectedness to show the world that the wait can be a meaningful one. The way we conduct ourselves; whether that’s in our shopping, our social distancing, staying home and the information we choose to share affect how the world perceives Christ-followers in this time. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be seen as hopeful and kind than negative and paranoid.
Social distancing brought us together
Life in lockdown has been difficult. We’ve been cut-off from our normal routines and our friends and family. During this time, I found that I’ve been drawn closer; closer to the Creator and closer to those that I love. I’ve been more sincere in my devotional time, more earnest in my contact with people and finding things to be grateful for every day.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians chapter 4, verses 6 and 7).
Maybe you’re not someone that’s been anxious during these times, but I certainly have been. Rather than allowing it to drive me away from faith, I’ve chosen to seek solace in the Word, delving into bible studies and devotions, seeking comfort in my faith rather than being distanced from the Creator by my fear. The process of life in lockdown, the process of social distancing has brought me closer to Him than I would have otherwise been.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm chapter 133, verse 1)
Speaking of social distancing bringing people together, how much more does Psalm 133, verse 1 resonate with you? As a community, we’re finding new ways of gathering, new ways of reaching people and we’re praying collectively now more than we have before. When you’re reading this, I have no idea if South Africa’s lockdown will have been extended or if we’ll be trying to find new ways to return to our lives. What I can tell you is that life in lockdown may be challenging, but more than ever I feel a sense of unity in faith that I have never felt before.
Hailing from South Africa, Crystelda is an avid nerd and an unapologetic dreamer. With a BSc. Biological Sciences and BCom Hons in marketing, she has launched the Christian lifestyle blog - Selah Blogger and is the joint winner of the 2019 International Theology Award. The blog can be found at https://selahblogger.wordpress.com/ and her previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/crystelda-naidoo.html