In the book of John, Jesus says he is the way to God who brings abundant life. We take this not just in spiritual terms and the promise of heaven, but for nitty-gritty survival today. Jesus says he makes life better now.
As a researcher, one of my goals is to convince people that what Jesus says is true, that life in him is abundant and free, not rule-governed, and stifling. Therefore, one recent project looked at how Christians were faring during pandemic isolation. After all, if Christ gives life, then Christians should be more resilient and less challenged.
And that is what I found. Compared to people who do not identify as believers, I found that church-going Christians were getting along better overall. Three key signs were that they trusted each other more, supported each other more, and thought life was going well despite the pandemic.
They also experienced less turmoil. During weeks seven and eight of self-isolation, Christians suffered fewer problems. They were less likely to be angry, hostile, fight, and argue. They were less anxious and fearful toward the people around them. And they felt less alone.
Wow. What a testimony to Jesus’ abundant way!
Of course, this does not mean there were no struggles. Not at all. It shows that God is with us during the challenges of this earthly journey. He gives us his Spirit to encourage us and the church to lean on when we need help. We are managing the pandemic through him and other believers.
Dear God, thank you for your abundance even during these challenging months. And forgive me for my complaining! I did not know that others had it worse. Help me be an encouragement to everyone so that I may pass on your abundant life. Thank you for walking with us. Amen.
Go Deeper — If you are feeling anxious or depressed, it doesn't mean you are less of a Christian. It means you need others to pray for you and help you. Our mentors can be that help.
Photo Credit: Engin Akyurt