A version of this post first appeared on Seriously Write.

We ride the bumpy roller-coaster of a pandemic coupled with racial conflict. When 2020 began, not many had any inkling of what we would face this year, but some were already keeping a wary eye on reports of a vicious new virus on the other side of the world. Still, no one had the vaguest idea of how this novel coronavirus would play out across the globe.

Now we’re deep into it. This may be one of the most challenging times of our lives. Many have lost loved ones. Many have been unable to see family for months, even if dying. Many have lost their jobs or their homes.

Multitudes have been sickened by the virus SARS-CoV-2. As I wrote this, around 160,000 more Americans were infected, bumping us to 3,055,491 confirmed cases of people who are or have been sick, with 132,310 deaths as a result, 4.33% of those infected. Though Americans are only 4.25% of the world’s population, we have more cases of COVID-19 than any other nation on Earth, followed by Brazil and India. Consider that. Most of us know at least one person who has been infected, if not many.

Into this tragedy stepped police violence that sparked peaceful protests all over the world. Sadly, more violence erupted when mostly late-night crowds engaged in rioting and looting. For those of us who lived through the Civil Rights movement, this took us back to our youth. These events revealed problems that weren’t resolved in the 1960s and 70s, or since then.

Human nature being sinful, of course that would be true. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and others proved it. We know that human beings are capable of atrocities, as we’ve witnessed. And yet, human beings are also capable of sacrificial acts of kindness that display the glory of God, for we are made in his image.

We have the opportunity to change. In the midst of sickness and death and conflict, the Lord has presented the possibility of new birth, if only we’ll rise to the occasion. Perceiving what’s in our own hearts is the essential first step in growth. The Lord has utilized these trials to bring our true condition to light. With realization and growth, transformation can come.

The Lord has presented the possibility of new birth, if only we’ll rise to the occasion. Perceiving what’s in our own hearts is the essential first step in growth. These trials bring our true condition to light. #KindnessMatters Click To Tweet Perceiving what’s in our own hearts is the essential first step in growth. The Lord has utilized these trials to bring our true condition to light. With realization and growth, transformation can come. #KindnessMatters Click To Tweet

For authors whose children are young, or who have grandchildren asking questions, we must guide their young minds through these events. There has been much explaining to do and many teachable moments to be seized. Every time we see our almost-teen granddaughter she has new questions that she’s already been discussing with her parents. She asks us the whys. We all talk, trying to find common ground as we explain the complicated, complex, and horrific.

When we writers plotted our 2020 writing plans for our blogs and social media, we never pictured ourselves addressing these topics. And yet, our national experience prompted revision of our plans, inspiring us to write about these events that press hard on our nation. We write to bring words of faith, justice, compassion, and hope to our readers and to our own hearts as we strive to make sense of these tragedies and hardships.

We write to bring words of faith, #justice, compassion, and hope to our readers and to our own hearts as we strive to make sense of these tragedies and hardships. #WritingCommunity #BlackLivesMatter #pandemic Click To Tweet

This is the blessing and the cost of liberty, a right cherished by our founders. We have freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and a duly elected government. We aren’t told what we must think. We aren’t provided with only one viewpoint on events. We have numerous news sources. We don’t have a dictator who prevents truth from ever reaching the public.

Americans aren’t told what we must think. We aren’t provided with only one viewpoint. We have numerous news sources. We don’t have a dictator who prevents truth from ever reaching the public. #Liberty #Justice Click To Tweet

We aren’t muzzled and kept silent when pandemics and riots and protests occur. We can voice our opinions. We can protest peacefully. We can tell our children and grandchildren the truth.

We aren’t muzzled and kept silent when pandemics, riots, and protests occur. We can voice our opinions. We can protest peacefully. We can tell our children and grandchildren the truth. #Liberty #Justice Click To Tweet

Though we have much work to do to ensure justice for all the citizens of our nation, we have the liberty to talk about these facts publicly, to converse, to disagree, to post, to read news from various sources with opposing viewpoints and positions.

Liberty gives us, our children, and our grandchildren the blessing of being able to think for ourselves and to decide what to do and how to act. And then, by the grace of God, we can take action and we can write, for we are free to change and free to seek justice. Write the necessary words. Let the transformation begin.

Liberty gives us, our children, and our grandchildren the blessing of being able to think for ourselves and to decide what to do and how to act. And then, by the grace of God, we can take action. #Justice #Kindness Click To Tweet

How have these trials resulted in words to share with others, in more activism on your part, or in more precise instruction of your children and grandchildren in matters of justice and liberty?

How has this pandemic and these racial conflicts simultaneously impacted you, your health, and your family?

In what ways are you standing firm through this severe testing? How is all of this strengthening your faith?