The title of a USA Today story read, “Holding on to hope in the coronavirus pandemic . . .” The Wall Street Journal wrote in one article, the “world’s best hope is private innovation” in fighting the virus. The Mercury News in California published an article, “Amid the corona virus shutdown, Bay Area neighbors find help and hope in each other.”
As the days continue to mount in lock downs, travel advisories and quarantines, the need for hope is increasing.
Hope is a word that can be used by elected officials, preachers and inspirational speakers and writers to motivate, encourage and elevate the spirits of people in times of crisis. Sometimes it can be tied in with optimism and positive mental attitudes.
The word is typically used in two ways. One, as a wish or desire. Two, as a fact or something with certainty. It is also important to note that hope needs to be rooted in something. It cannot be just hope in hope. Where does our hope come from? What is it tied to?
As I observe our world walking through this pandemic, I see people putting hope in scientists, each other and their inner selves to persevere through it all. At best though, this kind of a hope is simply a wish or desire.
I want to offer you a better kind of hope, one that is certain. This is a hope that is rooted in God and made available to us through Jesus, His only Son.
In the Bible it is written, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
God’s hope is rooted in Himself. The hope He has is certain because He is certain. His hope is sure, because He is sure. His hope is trustworthy, because He is trustworthy.
God’s hope is beyond time. The hope we seek wants to find answers and solve problems quickly. We live in a 24-hour news cycle. Business is built on speed and convenience. God does not operate this way though, which can cause us to be frustrated. We want solutions right now, whereas God wants us to trust Him right now.
God’s hope is beyond space. The hope we seek, peers into the physical frantically looking for help. Yet God’s hope is beyond the physical and what we can see and touch.
Recently I watched a movie on the history of African slavery. In one scene a slave was chained to a whipping post and beaten to death as other slaves were forced to watch. At one point, the beaten slave began to sing, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Singing these spirituals were commonplace among the slaves. They sprang from a hope in God that stood beyond what they could only see with their eyes.
Let us learn from them. God offers us a hope that is beyond climbing coronavirus cases and deaths. It is a hope beyond closed businesses, empty church sanctuaries and depleted retirement accounts.
God is able to offer us this hope because of the work of His only Son, Jesus. He died and rose again for all the wrongs we have ever done. The blood He shed provided a way for us to be forgiven. And through the cleansing of our sins and obedience to Christ, we can have hope in this world. In Jesus, God holds out hope to you. Receive it, then fix your new hope on all the certainty that comes through the risen Christ.
A prayer for you – “Lord God, help every reader to receive the hope you offer them in Jesus. May they lift their eyes off any despair around them. May they turn from trusting in themselves and the things of this world, to calling upon you with all their heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”