Tag Archive | Hope

Defeating Hopelessness

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“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”—1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV

Sometimes I struggle with what to say to others during this COVID-19 crisis. People don’t want to hear “don’t worry” when they’ve lost loved ones due to the virus, may be sick themselves, are unemployed, or quite frankly, scared about all the possibilities. News reports that the worst is yet to come and the ever-increasing number of cases, legitimize people’s cause for concern. And, if you’ve watched the Netflix series Pandemic that eerily foreshadowed the destructive impact of a novel virus outbreak, then you know that the projected loss of lives could be in the millions. Despite all of this, my naturally optimistic nature won’t allow me to panic.

It’s not because I’m trying to be extra deep or that I’ve donned a “Super Christian” cape. Those who know me know that’s not how I roll. It’s not because my loved ones are in a bubble, far removed from the crisis. Nope. Quite the opposite. My husband must still go to work Monday through Friday and interact with others. My son continually reports to the Naval base. My father and uncles are part of the vulnerable population. I have loved ones in nursing homes, with weak immune systems, or other health issues. The business my husband and I own has seen a dramatic shift in revenues because of everything that’s happening. So, nope, I’m not calm because my life is unaffected. I’m calm because I cannot afford to let fear and worry overtake me. My mental and emotional stability rely on me digging my heels into the only thing that has gotten me through tough times—my faith.

In the Hunger Games movie, President Snow is quoted as saying, “Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.”

While I don’t have the “right words” to share during this time, I pray that I can encourage each of you not to give up hope. Hope is dangerous, but not in the negative way that President Snow mentioned in the movie. He wanted to contain the people’s hope to keep them in line with the oppressive order that he’d established. Likewise, if we lose hope amid this pandemic, the enemy will keep our minds in bondage and consumed with fear. We’ll lose sleep, the quality of our relationships will diminish, and we’re more likely to become depressed.

Even more powerful than hope is love.

Paul wrote,  “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinthians 13:13

COVID-19 is the perfect opportunity for those of us who know Christ to share His love with others. We can show love in many ways. For example, by sharing our goods with others in need instead of hoarding them, we not only behave differently than those who are fighting in the store over toilet paper, but we would also emulate the behaviors of the very first church members in the book of Acts.

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44–45).

I doubt any of us are to the point of being willing to sell everything we have to give to others. Okay, maybe you are, but I’m not. (Stretch your hands my way!) The point is that they gave unselfishly, and their generosity was motivated by their love for Christ and one another. In whatever way you can look out for others during this time, please do it. It can be a phone call, an email, an encouraging word, or helping out with food or supplies. Do it genuinely and with love. Your actions may be the thing that helps someone else believe.

So, while I don’t have the answers to what’s happening, I choose to share with you what I have—faith in a sovereign God, hope that He will produce something good from this outbreak, and a love for Him and others that I hope will be contagious.

Loving Hope

“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love,” Psalm 147:11

It’s apparent that America is hurting as a nation. We’ve had tragedies upon tragedies that have sparked feelings of anger, fear, worry, hatred, and even hopelessness among other things. In only a month, there have been three shootings that gained national attention – two by the police and one act taken against them. Prior to these senseless events, there have been countless other tragedies that have unfairly claimed the lives of loved ones for one reason or another. These things make me angry. The most recent incidents have probably been the hardest for me because they happened back-to-back. Before I could process one, another happened, and then another. I’m careful to take my feelings to the Lord so that I don’t allow anger to take me to a dark place. It’s because of Him that, in the midst of anger, I have hope.

Yes, I’m angry that some police officers and the justice system, in general, don’t value the lives of African Americans, particularly those of black men.

Yes, I’m angry that people have been acquitted of killing innocent black boys and men.

Yes, I’m angry that black men are often given tougher penalties when they commit crimes than others.

Yes, I’m angry that, when a black man is killed, some people ask what he did to warrant such action instead of being sorrowful about the devastation of a life lost.

Yes, I’m angry that I have to instruct my children to play by different rules than the rest of society if they want to live or get ahead in life.

Yes, I’m angry that, no matter how hard I try to instill in my children that everyone has value, there are those who think they don’t nor do others with darker skin.

Yes, I’m angry that someone chose to retaliate against innocent officers because of idiotic ones.

Yes, the many injustices that take place in our society infuriate me! Yet, I have hope!

I am determined that my anger won’t corrupt my spirit. I won’t allow my anger to fill my heart with hatred or bitterness. I won’t allow my anger to cause me to hate an entire race or a certain group of people based on the actions of some. I won’t allow my anger to cause me to sin in word or deed. Instead, I am taking my emotions to the One who created me . . . the One who understands me better than I do myself. It is to Him that I go and it is in Him that I have hope when everything around me suggests that I should be hopeless.

In the midst of turmoil, it’s natural to wonder where God is? Why did He allow these things to happen? How long is He going to let the world suffer? Why doesn’t He simply end it all and take His children to their heavenly home? Maybe it’s presumptuous of me to assume that you have had these same questions. Perhaps it’s just me. There are times when things happen that don’t make sense. Yet, I have hope!

My hope is not in the laws of the land, the justice system, or others. My hope is in God. I don’t see how people make it in this world without Him. I would literally lose my mind because of all the devastation that takes place. Even with external chaos, I have internal peace. It’s a peace that passes all understanding, including my own. My anger has caused me to dig deeper in the Word. It has propelled me to pray for more people and to pray more specifically. As Benjamin Watson said in a post last fall, the problem is sin, not skin. We live in a fallen world. What we see happening are the ramifications of such.

As angry as we are about the current happenings and the years of injustices that have taken place, we, as Christians, can’t render evil for evil. We can’t allow words of hatred to spew from our mouths. We can’t allow ill will to enter our hearts. We are to speak life and we are to love when loving seems impossible. The Bible says that love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). I’ve seen this truth operated in personal relationships in my life that seemed beyond repair. I know for a fact that the Word works. We have to apply it.

Make a determination that God’s love and light will shine through you no matter what. Filter your words, thoughts, and actions through the Father. He can handle anything you bring His way. He will also give you comfort through His Word so you, too, can see that there is hope. Change can’t be legislated. If it could, injustices would not still prevail considering that Jim Crow laws and segregation were abolished years ago. Laws changed, but hearts did not. Christians can be the agents of change through our words (speaking the truth in love and speaking words that bring life and healing instead of pain), our will (being determined to follow Christ), our walk (showing the world what it means to be His disciple), and our work (doing all things to His glory and not our own).

May the love God has for you lead you to show that love to others. It’s because of His love that there is still hope! 

Do you still believe?

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