Finding peace in a time of uncertainty

finding peace in uncertain times

By Renate Engelbrecht

Thursday, Apr 30

In a time where the whole world – including you and me – are drenched in uncertainty, I’ve been delving deep for answers to questions that many of us are facing. COVID-19 has been playing hide and seek with all of us, frightening us, hurting us, taking from us many of the things that matter most.

In my inner circle there are pregnant women who are scared. They feel alone. Their husbands may not join them for scans and share in something that is supposed to be one of the biggest joys in life. They worry.
In my inner circle there are people who lost their jobs. Me included.
We worry.


Hillsong United’s song, Oceans often brings peace when my heart feels uncertain:

“Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.”

Finding peace in uncertain times

Time for God

If I am honest, it’s not always easy to spend time – enough time – with God. In my pre-kids days it was much easier. The phase we are currently in (with a 2-year-old daughter and a 3-month-old son) has us on our knees, make no mistake, but mostly it’s to pick up dolls, crayons and pieces of toast. #facepalm


Jokes aside, I often feel that I don’t spend enough time with God to earn the right to ask Him difficult questions like: “Why would you allow so much hurt?” “When will this end?” “What is Your plan for me; for us?” “Do You even hear us when we ask for Your help?” “What am I supposed to do now that I have no income?” These are but a few of my own questions and I can only imagine that people who have lost loved ones due to the Coronavirus have even more.

Why did God send the Coronavirus?

I was listening to a sermon by James Kirkpatrick from the Stellastraat congregation the other day and he was telling the story about a woman whose 5-year-old daughter asked her why God sends things like the Coronavirus. The mother said that God doesn’t send it. Then the daughter wanted to know why He allows it then. This was one of my questions too and while pondering on it, I realised that even though God may have a bigger plan with this than we would ever be able to fathom, somehow there are also smaller plans within the bigger plan that have individual effects on all of us.

Smaller plans within the bigger plan

For me, it was to realise once again that we are mere speckles in the universe. We have no say. We have no control over what is happening and therefore all we have is faith. Faith in the medical workers that work around the clock to save lives and find cures. Faith in ourselves to stay headstrong. Faith in nature to heal itself. Faith in God.
It also taught me a whole new level of patience. Patience with myself. Patience with my husband. Patience with our kids. Patience, with God.
It showed me that it’s often the small things that are actually the big things. I have always tried to focus on noticing the small things in life, but sometimes life just gets to you and you forget. So, perhaps I just had to be reminded once again that the flower that my 2-year-old Liefielyf picked for me while I was working holds much more value and carries much more love than an hour’s work.
Courtesy of Coronavirus I also realised (anew) that my family’s life is (was) too busy and things that were supposed to be important got blurred with things that we thought were important. Come the lift of lockdown, I’d like to reinstate certain family- and personal habits like praying together more often, not working on Sundays and using that time for quality time with people we love, getting to know our neighbours and making an effort with them, reading the Bible before bedtime stories and many more. Some of these we have been doing, but not as a rule and I would love to see it become routine rather than something we remembered to do. Lockdown helped us to recreate our routine and with that we were reminded of the things that were supposed to be included in our day-to-day lives.


I find my peace here

We may not know why God allows for things like the Coronavirus to happen, but what we do know is that He has a plan and a purpose for our individual and our collective lives. And, He’s here. Always. Sometimes when I feel the wind softly sweep across my face I am reminded of His presence and that gives me peace.

If I can give you something to take with you today, it’s this: Concentrate on seeing and feeling the small things that are actually big. Those things are the things that bring real peace.




  1. Tobie de Villiers

    Beautifully written, Renate. I am so proud of you and the women you became! May the Lord bless and keep you all.

    • Renate Engelbrecht

      Thank you, Dad! Such a blessing to have such a close-knit family who cheers us on.


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