Bible Society of Nigeria

When will this end?

“You mean everything at church is cancelled? How can that happen?” John had just come back from a business trip and was sitting down to supper with his wife, Anne.

She replied, “Well, have you been watching the news while you were away?”

“Yes, of course. We have all been discussing the corona virus and the effects it will have on our business, but I didn’t really think things were as serious as that. We have mainly been worried about the impact it is having already on people who are paid by the hour.”

“Yes,” said Anne. “You know Joe at church who plays the double bass? I met him outside today and he said that he is really worried about finances. With all the concerts cancelled, how is he going to pay his rent? Even self-isolating is hard for him because he doesn’t have money to buy extra food. He looked a bit sick to me, but he won’t admit it and go home, as he has a chance to make some money giving lessons to children.”

The next day John and Anne were shocked to hear that an elderly aunt of John’s had been taken into hospital with the virus. Before they were able to phone her, they heard she had died from complications caused by her asthma. Over the next few days as John helped plan her funeral, he realized this would be a very different situation than normal. Only a few immediate relatives would be able to be present at her funeral due to the quarantine regulations. Then he learned that the funeral would have to be delayed because there was a such long waiting list for the place they planned to hold the funeral. John had had a close relationship with his aunt, and now there were so many other issues to think about that he felt unable to grieve her loss.

Anne had been told not to come to work since one of the people at her workplace had been diagnosed with the virus. For a few days Anne enjoyed the freedom to catch up on household jobs she had needed to do for many months, but soon she began to feel restless and depressed. “When will life come back to normal?” she moaned to John. As the weeks went on, she felt more and more depressed and spent a lot of time staring into space. She was wondering how God could allow this to happen. She asked herself how she could still believe that God loves us and cares for us.

John and Anne’s church was doing its best to keep track of their members. They worked through the leaders of the house groups to see how people were getting on. Soon John and Anne’s house group leader became aware of Anne’s state of mind and looked for ways to help her and others. The house group already had an online group. Now they arranged to talk virtually once a week and do a Bible study together. Other members told Anne how they were helped by taking a good brisk walk each day, whatever the weather! Their church arranged to live-stream their Sunday services. Gradually Anne got used to the new realities, felt again that God did care what happened, and found ways of being usefully occupied.

Reflection questions

  1. How were John, Anne, and Joe affected by the COVID-19 virus?
  2. How did John and Anne’s church help the house groups?
  3. What is difficult about this story for you?

Kindly forward your responses to: programmes@biblesociety-nigeria.org

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