"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23, NIV
I went to bed one day last week praying for our world and praying against the negative impacts of COVID-19. I'm sure I am not alone when I say it has not been easy to navigate the several changes we’ve had to endure because of this virus. The Lord woke me up that night and the words “Hope in Uncertainty” popped up in my mind. I then saw the Apostle Paul vigorously writing at a desk behind prison bars. I imagined the Lord would want us to relate to Paul’s productivity and intimacy with God in times of isolation. However, upon further reflection, He was speaking something more profound to me: HOPE.
Last month, my dear friend, Roneka Spady, wrote a devotional on hope. She courageously shared her testimony of defeating cancer and proclaimed that God has never lost a battle. No matter what we are facing in our life (i.e. sickness, loss, grief, violence, unemployment), we must hold on to the truth that He is always fighting for us (Exodus 14:14). This pandemic will be added onto our lists of allegedly undefeatable battles and seemingly unmovable mountains. The shadow of uncertainties that follow the corona virus may produce anxiety and fear. Nevertheless, it will also be a great testimony of endurance, patience, faith, belief, trust, salvation, and growth -- IF WE HAVE HOPE AND PUT THAT HOPE IN JESUS.
Life has been full of uncertainties even before 2020. We all have had our experiences where we faced uncertainty and unexpected situations which tested our spiritual or behavioral responses. What if this is also such a time of God’s testing and training you to be spiritually stronger than you were, and to respond more prudently than you have in the past. This virus is sweeping in as an attempt to strip us not only from our health, healing, and productivity, but something far more important: Our Hope in Jesus. Our focuses are being turned to the things we can see versus the things we yet cannot see in and of ourselves. “Now faith is the substantiating of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 DBT
Will we forget God’s word in moments of ambiguity, or will we act on our own understanding and attempt to control the outcome? As we, as a people, mustn’t lose hope in God.
What have you put your hope in this year? This month? Your job? Your finances? Our government? Your church?
Hope displaced is a dangerous thing. It can bring deception and disappointment when placed in unreliable sources. I am a walking testament of this. Plenty of times, I have put my hope in people, money, work, and my own will only to be left in discouragement and disbelief. Let me be more transparent. I have lost sleep at night and peace during the day because of anxiety and depression. At times, I lack trust that God will come through for me as it pertains to my finances, my mother’s sobriety, and my mental health. I have seen God time and time again bring back the heads of my enemies without me even having to lift a finger; and yet, there are some situations in which I forget who He is and what He’s done. The more anxiety produced, the more ambiguous the situation, or the more unexpected the hurt and, the less likely I was to pause and gage the placement of my faith. Our hope is only effective when it is properly placed in the hands of our Lord and Savior; our good Shepherd; our Jehovah Jireh. In any other person, place or thing, we are destined to fail.
There is no question that the days we are living in are unprecedented, tragic, and uncertain. Many of us are suffering in tremendous ways. The hope that Paul wrote about was a treatment for the sufferings very we all have, are, and will face. Trials and tribulations do not discriminate, and they did not just appear in 2020. Even after COVID-19 has been conquered (in the name of Jesus), we will continue to experience times of hopelessness and despair. But Paul reminds us that in the wake of tribulation, we, the body of Christ, must maintain a hope, endure for the sake of others, and rejoice. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Tim Keller stated said, “To get through life, you have to get through suffering, and to get through suffering, you need a living hope.”
When many of us turn on the TV, scroll on our phones, or open our laptops, all we see is what’s wrong. We focus on what destruction and devastation for far too long. You know when a bright light shines in your face, you temporarily cannot see and you have to squint, rub your eyes, or blink several times before you can clearly see again. I believe that’s where some of us are. We have become blinded by the light of it all, and it’s become hard to adjust and refocus our eyes on Truth. If our hope only lies in the things we can see -- fear, anxiety, and uncertainty will win, and we will lose the very life we’re putting all of our hope in to preserve. I encourage you to put your hope in no other thing than God. The world is standing still, but our lives and our faith don’t have to. Perhaps, God has a bigger plan than we can see. I want to be a part of that plan and be able to say I truly put my trust and hope in Him. He is in control; and family, He has slowed down the world for us to take advantage.
As Christians, this is the time to confess and proclaim the hope of the resurrection. Let us fill the silence and uncertainty with the hope that we profess and affirm; for God can be trusted and is faithful. Will you remain hopeful?