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Religion has long been praised for being the key factor to healing a person from trauma and distress.

We look to our faith to get us through the toughest road-blocks life has to offer, and COVID is no exception on that list. As COVID continues to cause thousands of deaths around the world and rattle our daily lives with unpleasant restrictions, people are turning to their faith to find peace.

Even with the halting disruption of in-person worship services, people still have found ways to continue their devotion to worship. Online worship became the new norm as people started exploring their virtual faith options.

Even Google saw a spike in online faith. The popular search engine saw record-breaking numbers on searches for “prayer”, “hug”, and “hope”.’ This tells us that people were using their faith to cope with the hardships that COVID brought. In March 2020, Google reported the highest level ever recorded for “prayer”. Users were endlessly searching for answers to their different scenarios and trying to find comfort, Google offered a place of hope. It is a place of convenience that allows people to connect from anywhere, anytime for any reason.

This pandemic has left the world with so many questions, some of which, may never get answered. Virtual hope is the answer that many people are looking for. It’s private, it’s convenient, and it’s discreet. As humans, we tend to live in our own little bubbles oblivious to when others around us are struggling, and during a pandemic when social distancing is mandated it makes it even harder to help those around us.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” (PSALM34:4-5)

Our faith can comfort us like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day.

However, with the lack of information or misinformation around COVID, Google also saw an increase in searches related to “panic attack”, “how to help”, and “hypochondriasis”. Phobias and intense episodes can hit anyone at any moment regardless of religious affiliation. COVID created a new kind of unknown fear and it’s scary to not have all of the answers. The impact of COVID on our mental health is simply unknowable. Stressing over what we have no control over is harmful to your health.

Be aware that stressing can have dangerous consequences including:
• Fear which can bring an onset of panic attacks
• Difficulty sleeping
• Increased substance use
• Loss of appetite
• Decline in mental health

It is an unfortunate situation that is out of our control, but how we cope is simply up to us. Once the restrictions and lockdowns began, people started looking for a distraction in the form of puppies, barbecues, pools, and even a good ol’ book. Google trend searches reported a drastic increase for these words. Not surprising were the terms like “party” and “festivals” that Google saw a decline in as people wanted to reduce their risk of potential COVID exposure.

We are living in proof-focused times with many of our religious core tenets being constantly questioned. Just because you are unable to prove those tenets to be true doesn’t mean they don’t provide value. We will always see a spike in faith during difficult times because faith and spirituality were designed to help us get through them. Religion can give someone who is scared the basis on which they need to understand why they’re scared or fearful of the unknown. We turn to faith and religion through every life obstacle so it makes sense that we would turn to that same level of support during the pandemic. We can only hope that people continue to put their faith first as letting the devil win through fear can paralyze you and stop you from living God’s plan. COVID has taught us how to adapt very quickly to unforeseen events that have major impacts. Finding ways to strengthen our faith when we are challenged by Satan will allow us to transcend with grace.

As society continues-on its path back to normalcy, we can only hope we see the rise in faith continue its climb upward.

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