HOPE…I wake up welcoming hope into the waiting…I walk through my day searching for hope to replace doubts and fears…I fall asleep recognizing I need a fresh renewal of hope for tomorrow.
Honestly, each one of us needs a double dose of hope…right now!
Overnight, life as we know it is ever changing as our nation and the world continue to face the reality of COVID-19. Because this is uncharted territory, hope easily becomes elusive. It can seem distant and out of reach. The evidence of hope is obscured by challenges that appear overwhelming with the shift in our normal routines.
So why is hope so vague at times like this?
Humans tend to default to fear which breeds worry.
Worry cancels out hope, leading to anxiety in our souls.
Without hope, we can spiral into a frenzy.
Earlier this week, I ventured into Publix, one of our local grocery suppliers. Wanting to avoid crowds, I thought I had chosen the time wisely. Upon entering the store, I sensed an unusual atmosphere that permeated throughout my visit. A whole crew of workers in plain clothes were restocking canned goods–not a normal sight as they literally blocked an entire aisle, each one very intent in the work. There was a sense of urgency. Other aisles had bare areas (yes, no toilet paper) and the produce section was basically empty. The despondent faces on fellow shoppers added to the eeriness. Halfway through my venture, I heard laughter and in turning the corner at the end of one aisle I nearly ran into this joy-filled African American lady. What a bright spot in the otherwise gloomy environment! She apologized as her big load of restocking items had barely missed the cart I pushed. I smiled back and thanked her for her smile and attitude. She responded back,” Hey, I figure laughing and having fun while I work is something I can do!”
Returning home with my groceries, I gladly walked back into my safe haven. But I also came home with two reflections—the weird uneasiness infiltrating the arteries of our nation and the joy portrayed in that woman’s face and voice. Her smile transmitted hope because she was focusing on what she could do and not the fear!
Words are inadequate to express all the concerns and emotions that are penetrating the lives of each one of us. We are dealing with unknown challenges none of us ever thought we’d be facing. Even so, you and I still have choices–to face each day in isolated fear or do what we can by embracing God’s grace and goodness and serve as a light in the darkness for others who need HOPE.
HOPE is not just an emotion or dream. It does not materialize because we wish it to be. HOPE actually comes from a life source and is living amongst us. We must never forget the power of the LIVING HOPE that’s in our midst. His name is Jesus. You and I can choose to follow that HOPE. Jesus wants us to draw close; our part is to acknowledge Him and invite Him into our current struggle.
I believe, however, there is a condition we must grasp–a truth found in this scripture passage:
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James 4:8
As humans, our loyalty is divided between God and the world we live in. Because of that fact, it is easy to get caught up in this current crisis and listen to other voices. But don’t miss the promise here—if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. Covid-19 did not catch the Lord by surprise. He understands our fears and is ready to come into unknown circumstances with us. Be willing to listen to His voice of HOPE.
But there are more actions each one of us should put into practice. James says to wash our hands and purify our hearts. How ironic! Wash our hands? Don’t we regularly wash our hands– but not for 20 seconds with soap, then using sanitizer and alcohol? Not making light of the moment, but do we just go through the motions, possibly leaving residue behind that should be completely washed away? What about our hearts? I know mine needs purifying, but do you or I intentionally work at the process each day asking the Lord for His cleansing? Through acts of obedience, you and I are drawn into the presence of Jesus, our LIVING HOPE.
HOPE is alive and has a name–Jesus
I love these words from the Chorus to My Living Hope by Phil Wickham:
Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope
My desire for each of you is that you allow the Lord into your personal struggle, into this worldwide crisis, and into the many unknowns. Draw near to Jesus as you share your deepest fears, praying for wisdom and safety in the days ahead.
HOPE is alive and has a name—Jesus
No matter what we are up against, Jesus has gone before. He is alive– breaking down barriers and bringing LIVING HOPE. Even with social-distancing, we can share HOPE and live HOPE. I pray that you will find creative ways to connect with others in the midst of this crisis.
HOPE is alive and has a name–Jesus
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
When you wake each morning, you have a choice—to live in fear or live with HOPE. Together, let’s allow LIVING HOPE to walk beside us, guiding our way forward.