In March 2020, I was called back to Singapore due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This disrupted my studies and my time here in Brisbane, which was a big part of my life. Back in Singapore, I could not complete my clinical placements, which put my degree on hold. Attending church remotely also meant that I could not serve in ministry like I did when I was physically present in Brisbane. At the time, I felt like different parts of my identity were being taken away: a student, a life group leader etc. In Singapore, regulations to control the spread of COVID-19 became increasingly stricter. This meant that I was home-bound for most of the second half of 2020. As I bided my time, I began to feel a sense of increasing purposelessness. When all my external identities were removed, what remained on the inside was not something I was proud of.
However, God reminded me through a mentor’s words that no matter the circumstances, I was to be a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing unto God (Romans 12:1). Even if I had no extrinsic motivations, God showed me that being a Christian meant having an intrinsic motivation to worship Him with my life. I started to find meaning and value in things that I used to think were a waste of time. To give a few examples, God used a group of us to bring a close friend to Christ during that time. This was arguably the most unlikely of times, as we were all physically separated. He also helped me grow more in love with my family, with whom I had the opportunity to spend an extended time. He taught me to treasure the relationships that I have and not to take them for granted. The list goes on.
Even though I felt that 2020 was a struggle, I know that there are others for whom the pandemic has posed more extensive, real, devastating losses. Lost jobs, broken relationships, and even the loss of loved ones. The world today and the times we live in highlight our ever-increasing need for Jesus. Having the privilege of knowing Jesus, I hope and pray that God will continue to help me recognise and appreciate the value of the gospel more and more each day. Not just only for my own life, but for the lives of those around me as well.