The youth: Living between faith and fear during the pandemic
By Pastor/Bishop Lyndon Enrico Van Wyk.
COVID-19 has added to the complexity of problems the youth face and that can cause extreme distress and disorder. This has brought forth questions amongst them like: Why?; What does the future hold? When will this chaos end?, Where is God?, Why does God who is love and good allow so much evil? The purpose of this article is to look at the impact COVID-19 has on the youth and how the Church and ultimately God plays a role in offering real support.
COVID-19 pandemic is by many viewed as a physical and natural evil. Transforming our normal into anything but that, and creating a “new normal” for the youth that does not bring support or solace. This is where the Church comes in. Interpreting God’s plan and giving the youth the necessary support system so they can deal with the mental and health issues that have arisen.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic the youth who had enjoyed a carefree existence, as they are supposed to, have seen their movement restricted, their social and academic lives curbed and maybe for the first time have to deal with loss of family members or friends. The impact has been catastrophic for the youth.
The emotional effect COVID-19 pandemic has on the youth is huge, they suffer just like everyone else does, but are often not taken seriously. This results in the build-up of complex feelings which leads to; uncertainty, fear, confusion, frustration, depression, anxiety, grief and a feeling of hopelessness. Leading to a build-up of pressure that they feel they are at a breaking point. This may include suicidal thoughts, turning to alcohol, drugs, and sex. Anything to numb the pain. There are no easy answers or quick fixes, but turning to substance abuse or thoughts of taking one’s life is definitely not the answer. It needs to be dealt with properly and empathetically.
Some of the youth also ask: “Where is God and why does He allows all this to happen?” A question that points to God and his nature. The answer and comfort can be found in Holy Scripture, the Bible. According to Daniel 4, Isiah 6 and Genesis 18, God is Sovereign and Holy. Meaning we can say that God is perfectly pure, good and in control of everything. This makes God responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, because He ordains evil, but remains good and a just judge. God thus purposefully ordains everything which work together for the good according to Romans 8.
The youth cannot escape or deny reality, but need to deal with this situation at hand. The way to deal with complexity in a strategic and effective manner is to break it up into smaller parts in order to address it. A positive attitude of the youth towards the Covid-19 pandemic will help them to overcome the obstacles they face. So instead of turning to quick fixes with all the accompanying risks, they should rather seek counselling, and start to appreciate loved ones. Equally, an attitude which supports compliance to COVID-19 rules, will go a long way in saving the lives of youths. Allowing themselves to find meaning in life which will give the youth the resilience they need and the support they seek. The Church is where they can find the tools to get them through the pandemic.
In conclusion; COVID-19 is real with devastating consequences but can be overcome by our attitude towards it. As a family, as a supportive society we can and will make it through this testing time. God, never gives us more than we can handle, giving us all we need to come out stronger on the other side. However, sometimes we must look for it and that that is where the Church and the community can help. When we realize God is in control, we will experience peace in the midst of turmoil that Namibia and the world finds itself in.