by Adrian Chan, Kota Kemuning Church of Christ
The MCO was a very trying time for me. Even before the MCO, searching for a job was already quite the ordeal, and the fact that the interviews that I went to right before MCO could not get back to me due to how the economy was affected, did not exactly make things any better. As time continued to pass and the MCO gradually began to lift, I felt extremely inadequate watching everyone go back to their daily lives that were secure because they had an income – I was stuck at home brooding, trying to overcome an ordeal that was akin to punching through a brick wall with my bare hands. I definitely experienced quite the spectrum of emotions during the MCO; some days being at the highest peaks of hope, and other days being at the lowest points of despair. Looking back at those moments now though, there are some realisations that I’ve come to notice, and am very grateful for.
The first thing I realized was how to appreciate the little things in life. For example, the importance of having something as basic as a job, because of the security and mental stability that came along with it. Being unemployed also meant that I had to be very careful when it came to spending, and I learnt very quickly not to take simple pleasures (such as enjoying a cup of bubble tea) for granted. More importantly, I learnt to be extremely grateful to God for blessing me and the people dear to me with health, in a time when the world was being held hostage by a deadly pandemic. I draw parallels from my experience to Paul’s letter to the Philippians (Phil 4:11-13), Paul states that he learnt to be content in whatever state that he was in, and I would like to believe it is a mindset that I have grown to adopt.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” Phil 4:11-13
Another refreshing reminder I had during the COVID-19 crisis, though not exactly something new, is how blessed I was to be surrounded by supportive brethren. From simple gestures such as checking in on me via a simple text message or an extended call (to watch anime), or dropping by to deliver a meal and spend some time in conversation. Chapter 13 in the book of 1st Corinthians (which happens to be my favourite chapter in the Bible) describes love as the greatest gift, and I truly believe all the love and encouragement which the brethren so freely gave was what sustained me and kept me from giving up, especially on the days that I felt down. Lastly, I learnt the importance of loving myself, even when all my efforts seemed to be going nowhere. I was brought up in a loving but rather competitive family, which resulted in me being defensive or in denial whenever my flaws or shortcomings were pointed out. Dealing with failure after discouraging failure, helped me to realize that I should not be constantly bogged down by the mistakes that I made or the imperfections that I have.
After all, even the most stalwart followers of God such as Moses (striking the rock at Meribah) or David (in the case of Bathsheba and Uriah) stumbled at some point in their lives, but they never allowed it to get the better of them. All in all, the lockdown period was definitely a challenge, but the difficulties that I learnt to endure opened up my eyes to what I have been blessed with. I am extremely grateful to God for the opportunity to learn and grow during this period, as well as the loving brethren who never gave up on me and continued to show their love and support to me even when I was at my lowest. I hope that through my sharing, the brethren are reminded that though at times life may seem like an uphill climb, our God is a faithful God and he will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to overcome (1 Cor 10:12). In moments of adversity, we have nothing to fear because we have each other as well as our loving Father who is always watching over us.
P.S: I recently managed to secure a job in a company that I was really keen on joining! I’d like to express my gratitude to the brethren who guided me on my career path, helped me in finding opportunities for employment and constantly checked in on me during this period of trial.