‘Many wish that President Duterte will change his tack and finally exhibit some empathy towards his people.’

    THE Department of Health has reported rising cases of mental illness received by the National Center for Mental Health hotline which may have been expected since 30 percent of our population has been suffering from various forms of depression even before this huge virus crisis struck. From an average of 33 suicide-related calls from January to March, the number doubled to 66 in April and reached 112 in June and 115 in July.

    Many wish that President Duterte will change his tack and finally exhibit some empathy towards his people. He can start by recalling his ghoulish admonition during a presscon, “May kama, may hospital, may punerarya. Ano pa ba ang kailangan?”

    As quarantine restrictions eased somehow and essential businesses opened, the number of calls thankfully has gone down to 49 as of August 15 and most likely to less than 100 at month’s end.

    Only four radio stations have set regular daily time for prayers. The rest still settle for mostly mellow music, the common staple in evening programs that fail to banish sadness, depression and fear. During this time the intention of broadcast media should be healing and Godly protection and not just relief and relaxation. Its secular nature has failed to acknowledge the spiritual dimension that rules over us.

    Some radios stations have labeled their usual music evening programs as “quarantine music” which seems to instead indulge the clutches of fear and uncertainty. Spiritual leaders have long recognized that the physical and emotional or mental distresses come from a spiritual realm where a spiritual warfare has been taking place. Many who are not inclined towards this belief are among the most emotionally-troubled. Turning to spiritual or worship songs will almost certainly make quite a difference for those with unrequited spiritual hunger that this virus scourge has triggered.

    The author and co-founder of Desiring God Ministries, Jon Bloom, encourages everyone to embrace Mathew11:28-29. “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” He writes, “Deep soul wearies. Sometimes, we can point to a significant factor, but often we can’t. Our weariness results from the cumulative, multilayered intersections of life’s complexities, bodily frailties, emotional heartbreaks, and the consequences of sin. Because our burdens are not simple they are not relieved by simplistic platitudes (‘Cheer up!’). But a simple promise can relieve a complex burden, provided we believe that the power behind the promise is complex and strong enough to relieve our heaviness.

    And into our weariness steps the most complex power in existence speaking a promise as simple, hopeful and refreshing, as we could possibly want. The simplicity of Jesus’ promise is both striking and refreshing. Jesus doesn’t offer a five-fold path to peace and enlightenment, like what the Buddha did, He doesn’t give us a five-pillar of eternal life in Islam. Nor does He give “10 ways to relieve your weariness” which pragmatic self-help Americans are drawn to. Unique to anyone else in human history, Jesus simply offers himself as the universal solution to all that burdens us.”


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