The Covid-9 pandemic has taken a toll on our world, our families and loved ones. In Malaysia it is rampaging out of control. Today, we went into a Mandatory Control Order nationwide until 14 June 2021. It has brought fear and anxiety for most of us. It has also become more personal than when it began last year. This year, a few weeks ago, the Divine-Potta ministry lost a much-loved priest to this virus which seems to have imprisoned people across the world. I will share on this in a later post.
Today, with great joy, I would like to share the personal written experience of a very close friend, Brendan and his wife, Kherk Ying when they were both hospitalized after testing positive despite following all the guidelines that we all have to live with now.
To have fear is not a sin. We are all humans. To overcome our fear and to let Jesus be in control is what we have to keep in our hearts.
Below is the heart-provoking testimony by Brendan Pereira of the tough 10 days he learnt to surrender it all to God. Brendan and Kherk Ying were discharged on his birthday. A blessed gift from God!
I pray. I have faith. I think of God often. In recent years, I have become in every sense, a practising Catholic, someone proud that I belong to this wonderful umbrella of believers who follow the epitome of LOVE.
Catholics make up the bulk of my friends, and I am blessed to have the examples of holiness in my parents, my sisters, uncles, aunts and priests.
Correction: I am beyond blessed.
And yet. And yet.
Yet when the Covid-19 curve ball struck my wife and I recently, I became unhinged. I went on a roller coaster of emotions. It made me too anxious to be a disciple of Christ.
My encounter with the dastardly virus was mild in comparison to my wife who came down with pneumonia and had breathing difficulties. We admitted ourselves into hospital and her situation was tricky for a few days.
I have had time to reflect on our illness and the role faith and the prayers of others played in our episode. I think it can be broken up into 2 parts.
BEFORE ALLOWING THE HOLY SPIRIT...
I called priests here and overseas, asking for prayers the minute we were admitted to hospital and it became obvious that this was not a Panadol illness. Just walking past the ICU and seeing patients in ventilators set off my worry meter.
Several priests prayed and gave such sound advice, selecting comforting passages from the Bible and reminding how Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law. My sisters were pillars of faith, as always. So were my relatives.
But I couldn't shake off the desolation. The sounds of the hospital-the wailing from a nearby room and the Code Blue in the ICU and the different rhythm of Kherk Ying's breathing - disturbed my peace.
In short, the noises of the world shut out the Voice of the Lord.
Peace was elusive because I allowed fear, anxiety and every worst-case scenario to take control. I PRAYED BUT DIDN'T TRUST IN GOD. DIDN'T TRUST THAT HE IS IN CONTROL ALL THE TIME - and in every situation.
Must have been frustrating for God. Here I was pleading for His help but unwilling to receive His help.
But Our God is patient. He waits, and He will wait.
AFTER ALLOWING CHRIST TO TAKE CONTROL...
Peace only returned to my heart after four or five days in hospital, after I prayed for God to breathe His Spirit into me and into Kherk Ying's lungs as He did to the Apostles on the Pentecost.
I started thinking less of ifs and what ifs. I committed Kherk Ying to the Lord and asked God to guide the doctor who was treating us. My sister Yvette urged me to just focus on praising God. Sensible advice really because when we focus on the fount of goodness, faithfulness and might, there is less chance of being caught up with the slavery of the self. Me, myself, my family and I
Looking back, I am embarrassed at how easily I lost trust in God when things went awry, how easily I allowed fear to envelope me, how swiftly doubt took control. But that is the pride in me speaking.
Nothing worse than believing that you truly are a follower of Christ just because you pray, go to mass daily and do all the externals.
We live and learn to be better disciples every day, all the while appreciating that all things are only possible with His grace.
My wife and I are back home, grateful and so thankful to the army of believers who prayed for us with such faith and fervour.
I am grateful to God for healing us and for teaching me about humility and what it means to surrender to His will.
When I look back at this episode, I see the Hand of God everywhere, from sending us to the right hospital at a time when beds are so scarce for Covid patients to the wonderful family, friends and strangers who became His agents of love and mercy.
May you all be blessed.
St Augustine was spot on.
"Lord, You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in You."
May we always remember God's goodness and faithfulness. May we always cling to and invite the Holy Trinity to take charge and never forget that we have recourse to our family in Nazareth.
We are beyond blessed!
Brendan Pereira (Malaysia)