Pause or Reset
Written by Ps Zheng Haoren
When MOH raised the national risk assessment alert to DORSCON Orange on 7 Feb 2020, we were cautioned by the Health Minister that the Covid-19 outbreak may take months to resolve. It resulted in some degree of alarm but the public was quickly assured by our national leaders. The following two months sped by, with escalating infections and corresponding precautionary measures implemented every week.
During the initial weeks when church congregations were still able to meet and workplaces started to function in split teams with telecommuting, many regarded this season as a pause to one’s routine. Church programmes and activities were postponed; overseas travel curtailed; face-to-face meetings between individuals in split teams were disallowed; etc. These were necessary adjustments. But, otherwise, people were still able to meet over meals and go shopping.
“Oh, things are slowing down. It’s a good change to our national lifestyle actually. These restrictions are like pressing the ‘pause’ button while you’re watching YouTube. Let’s take this slowdown to catch our breath.” These were thoughts on people’s minds. There was a somewhat overconfident hope that the effects of Covid-19 will soon come to pass, the DORSCON alert will be reversed, and life will return to normalcy.
It did not happen. Instead, Covid-19 infections escalated in waves not just in Singapore but across the world. Except for essential services, everything else has now come to a standstill in Singapore till 4 May at least. Stay-at-home, work from home, most workplaces closed, schools closed, worship venues closed, public libraries closed, no entertainment, no shopping, no face-to-face meetings or gatherings with friends, relatives, colleagues, or church brethren. It is now an offence not to practise safe-distancing. All these have kicked in! Life in Singapore currently is no longer the same.
Has reality sunk in? Is this a Pause? Or has the Reset button been activated? I believe it is the latter. Our Heavenly Father has allowed Covid-19 to become a worldwide pandemic and at an unprecedented speed. He knows what is best for mankind. Father knows best. Our lifestyles, values, and attitudes need to be reviewed. How should we respond? Should we maintain the attitude of riding through this pandemic and reverting to our usual intense lifestyles again? If we have resolved to use this season to seek God in solitude, to grow in prayer life, to value time with loved ones, to journal, to de-clutter, to revive book-reading, etc., would we be even more resolved to maintain these disciplines when God in His mercy heals the lands and the peoples around the world? If we have been living at a fast and intense pace without God being in our centre, would we see the need to Reset our lives, and not just pause and revert to usual when this pandemic ends?