in the storm

IN THE STORM

By Pastor Adrian Garcia
Crisis, uncertainty, and frustration are some of the things this pandemic has brought into our lives.

It feels like the protagonists of a Hollywood movie. We hoped it would be over in a couple of weeks, but it has stretched on for months. The daily information provided by our mayor, the governor, and the president, brings us so much uncertainty. This has turned into anxiety, fear, and panic. Food store shelves are empty, and there are no cleaning products, toilet paper, etc.

I compare its effects to a tornado vs. a hurricane. A tornado usually lasts only seconds or minutes while leaving a trail of destruction. A hurricane, on the other hand, can linger for weeks, surpassing the tornado in destruction and in the amount of time it subjects its victims to constant tension, and stress.

I think the effects of this pandemic are like a hurricane because it is still unleashing its violent winds and rain. The effects around us are visible except for what happens to our souls on the inside. Uncertainty, fear, insecurity, anxiety, panic, depression; these damages can be imperceptible until their consequences take a toll when they show up later in life.

Jesus used the parable of two builders to illustrate the kingdom of God. One built his house on the sand and the other on the rock. Both faced high winds and storms. Does this parable sound similar to this pandemic?

Winds and storms may have whipped us all, yet those who know the Lord are holding onto His Word for dear life. Fears dissipate once we experience His nearness. When anxiety is placed in God’s hands through prayer, we rest assured that He is taking care of us. Insecurity and uncertainty have stood their ground, but we trust God’s strong hand leading us to the other side. Only He holds our future, even in the storm. In Him, everything shall be fine.

In my own faith journey, in the midst of this storm, we got hit by the news of the imminent closing of my Father’s Nursing Home. Dad was almost 98 years old, suffering from dementia, and had to be relocated. We had to find a new place for him while nursing homes remained locked due to the pandemic. We felt uncertainty and anguish regarding the risks involved in moving him to a new place with different staff and unknown routines. It made me feel like I was falling into a deep, dark well of despair.

He ended up at the hospital emergency room less than three weeks after the transfer, and then he was taken to intensive care. That month of daily hospital visits helped me to see the healthcare system from within. It gave me a deeper appreciation for doctors, nurses, CNA’s, technicians, specialists, and janitors. I admire their courage and fortitude considering that they all had their own families to care for.  Nursing homes, while locked down, are trying to care for the most vulnerable of our community - our elderly. They realize their residents suffer emotional needs for family, so they have created new ways to connect them with the world outside their walls, without compromising health protocols.

Dad's death was a very hard blow for me and my family. The COVID pandemic prevented relatives from Mexico from coming to visit due to government traveling restrictions. We had to rely on social media. The lack of family presence certainly made us appreciate those who showed us love despite the pandemic. Every prayer, message, text, call or card, declared, “You are not alone, God is with you.”

Winds and storms strike everyone, even our homes, proving once again the words uttered by the lips of our Master and Savior Jesus Christ, still hold the same worth and power. Our house is still standing, our faith goes on, our mission has not changed, and our lives hold tightly on the only thing that never fluctuates: His Word.

Beloved faith family, winds shall continue to strike us, storms shall be causing more havoc, but let us hold tight to the Word of God, which says:
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint..” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

REV. ADRIAN GARCIA

is the Pastor of Latino and Outreach Ministries at FUMC