It was just a couple of months ago. After more than a year of isolation, wearing masks, washing our hands incessantly, and feeling vulnerable every time we left our homes, the COVID-19 infection rates plummeted. We could finally go back to work, eat at restaurants, shop in our favorite stores, enjoy family outings, attend classes, and have human contact. It looked like the deadly Corona Virus was finally under control and we had our lives back again. Then it happened: the virus mutated bringing us COVID 2.0. Suddenly, we were back to isolating, wearing masks, and avoiding human contact. Jst when we felt hopeful again, hope was snatched away.
In some ways, COVID 2.0 has hit us harder, at least emotionally, than the original version. It is kind of like fighting cancer for a long time and thinking you are finally over it. Then, just as hope is restored, the cancer returns. In the blink of an eye, hope is snatched away, and your life is shattered. Somehow having the cancer come back after thinking it was gone is even worse than when it was originally detected. This is how a lot of people feel about COVID 2.0.
We all live in a fallen world meaning bad things happen to good people. This being the case, we must look to Jesus Christ for hope, not to worldly circumstances. One of the many blessings afforded us by Christ is the gift of hope. Because he lives, you and I have hope. No matter how dark our personal circumstances may seem at the moment, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is Jesus Christ.
When you walk with the Lord, you walk in hope. To hope is to look forward to a better future and trust it will occur. Hope is one of the most powerful forces known to man. It’s an intangible concept that can produce tangible results. In fact, hope can be the difference between life and death. People have survived grueling ordeals, major injuries, and serious illnesses because they had hope, while others in the same situation have died because they lost hope. Hope is that invisible force that keeps us going when we feel like giving up. People can endure most anything if they have hope.
The reason hope is such a powerful force, at least for Christians, is because it comes from trusting in Jesus Christ. Unless Christ is the source of your hope, you hope in vain. For many people, particularly unbelievers, this is precisely what happens. To the secular world, hoping is synonymous with wishing. People often say they “hope” something will happen when what they really mean is they wish it would happen but don’t really expect it to.
For Christians, hope is something altogether different. Hope in the Biblical sense is synonymous with trust. We have hope because we trust in the Lord, and we know the Lord oversees every aspect of our lives. When our hope is based on trust in God, we don’t just wish for a certain outcome, we expect it provided, of course, it is in keeping with God’s will. Instead of leaving the things we hope for to chance, we place them at the feet of Christ and trust the outcome to Him. We can trust in Christ because we know he will provide what we need, although not necessarily what we want.
I need to emphasize that last point. God knows what we need, and He provides what we need, not what we want. Christians who hope for the things of the world—a bigger house, nicer car, more money, increased power, or enhanced status—may be disappointed, even if they place their desires at the feet of Christ. Why? Because what we hope for should honor God rather than indulging selfish human desires; it should align with the teachings of Scripture. God knows your heart and He knows what you need. Therefore, you can trust Him to provide what you need.
To ask God for things that are self-centered and me-oriented is not just inappropriate, it’s a sin. It is one thing for the family of a loved one stricken with COVID-19 to ask the Lord for a complete recovery; it’s quite another for an individual to ask God to let him win the lottery. The former hope aligns with Scripture but the latter does not. Place your hope in Christ, but align what you hope for with Scripture.
When your world falls apart and hope deserts you, place your burdens at the feet of Christ. Find hope in the fact that God knows what is best for you. Trust in Him and understand beforehand that any outcome decreed by God is the right outcome, even if it is not the one you hoped for. In some cases, it can take years for you to understand how and why God used certain events, tragedies, and setbacks in your life. But if you trust in God, it is enough to know He will use the troubles you face for good. This is why you can have hope even during these frustrating times of COVID 2.0.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019: www.david-goetsch.com