Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Year 2020 -- When Humans Were Tossed Into The Virtual Zone

The year 2020 will likely go down in history as the year of virtual reality. From how children learn to how we work our jobs, and from how we mark milestone occasions to how we participate in some sports. It seems that the word "virtual" will be as synonymous with 2020 as the word "pandemic" will be.

Let's face it, people are growing weary of "virtual." Kids used to crave screen time and nowadays many are wanting to get away from those glowing laptops and iPads. Many adults used to dream about the benefits of working from home... until they were forced to do so and then the realities of that dream hit them hard. In the past six months we've seen virtual weddings, virtual sporting events, virtual church services, and virtual TV programs -- with hosts broadcasting from their homes. I believe we're all quickly learning that life in the virtual zone isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

Researchers at Boston University report that their study on adult depression in the U.S. shows that it has tripled since April 2020. A Brown University study released last week reports that 25 percent of American adults are currently experiencing symptoms of depression. Also, many parents have growing concerns about the mental well being of their children, including heightened anxiety and frustrations with not being able to be around other children the way that they used to before COVID-19. There are also growing fears of childhood depression, weight gain, and self harming. When it comes to young adults, one in four (aged 18 to 24) seriously contemplated suicide in June 2020, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People were not designed to live virtually. We're designed to interact with other humans and to function in the world without constant fear of catching a virus that has the potential to kill us by simply touching a playground swing set, holding a handle at a gas pump, or coming within six feet of another person. For the past six months the entire world has been impacted by the Coronavirus. It has changed the everyday lives of everyone on the planet. Yes, we are all in this together and one day we will all be out of this together. Until then, as a Christian I believe that a positive addition to our daily regiment of hand washing, wearing masks, and social distancing is to pray.

Prayer is simply a conversation with God that is defined by faith. It's the humble act of taking our natural concerns to a supernatural God. I read something this week that I wanted to share with you: "I don’t really think that the prayer has to look a certain way or sound a certain way to be heard by God. I don’t think that we have to be kneeling by a bed or locked in a prayer closet. And I don’t believe that a long prayer impresses Him or a short prayer disappoints Him. I just think that He wants us to be honest with Him and to pray with whatever faith that we can muster." I agree with that. God isn't looking for a performance through our prayers. He's looking for a humble heart that is willing to go to Him, to talk to Him, and to listen to Him.

Never forget that we pray to a God who works wonders (Psalm 77:14). A God who heals the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). A God who gives strength to the weary and power to the weak (Isaiah 40:29). A God who is able to do far above anything we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Have you added prayer to your daily routine of hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing? If not, start today!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso