HOPE and COVID-19

About a week ago, my state had its first corona virus case confirmed. A week later, pretty much everything is closed down and everyone’s lives are, in essence, cancelled.

It took awhile to sink in, but by last Friday night, I was at the point of losing it. Not just because one or two things are cancelled (hey, I don’t get out much, alright?), but because everything was. And all at once. Not to mention trying to be positive for my friends, who had their speech and debate tournaments cancelled (some were switched to online).

I told my mom I was going to edit. Because, as everyone knows, the best way to deal with depression is to work yourself to death. (And yes, that’s sarcasm intended.) Needless to say, it didn’t help. Staring at a screen with all my motivation having flown out the window, I was at the point of tears. OK, I get it. I get what it’s like to have your life suddenly shut down like this. Granted, I’ve faced many of these types of disappointments before my life many times, but never all at once. And never having to watch my friends go through it.

It hurts, okay? Disappointment sucks. It bites down deep and doesn’t let go and it seems you can’t help but be miserable.

But in case you thought this was a rant about how mad I am about COVID-19, think again.

While I was editing and feeling the ol’ anxiety coming on, I ran to Spotify (alright, maybe I didn’t literally run) and turned on Andrew Peterson’s Counting Stars album—you can listen to it here on Youtube. Which is my go-to album now since a couple months ago.

And I didn’t edit. The document was open. But I wasn’t paying attention to it.

The second song in the album, which is one of my favorites by him, Dancing in the Minefields has these lyrics:

‘Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear

‘Cause He promised not to leave us
And His promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos
Baby, I can dance with you

Oh, let’s go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh, this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for

Yes, I know this is a love song, but the words have the same impact for what we’re going through. I’ll explain more in a minute.

And then, my all time favorite, In the Night. I could share the whole song here. But I won’t, because I don’t want to burden you with having to go through all the lyrics. You can go listen to the song and find the lyrics. This song was eventually followed by the last one, The Reckoning (How Long). And honestly, these hit home now more than any other time I’ve listened to them.

Why?

Like most people across the world, my hopes have more or less been dashed. And it’s hard to hold on and to be “positive” when stuff like this happens. Because all I see are the things that aren’t going to happen: the friends I won’t be able to see, the performance I won’t be able to do, the things I was looking forward to that are cancelled. It’s chaotic. It’s depressing. It’s anxiety-inducing.

But, unlike the media states, it’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay, we’re all going to be okay, and we’re going to get through this.

“I do not believe this darkness will endure.” 

~ Faramir; The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Even the darkness must pass.”

~ Samwise Gamgee; The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

COVID-19 is going to pass. Everything does, eventually. And meanwhile, we don’t have cause for panic. Yes, it can be scary and it can be frightening, but it’s going to be okay.

Wanna know why?

Because God is in control.

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for peace and not disaster. Plans for a future filled with hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

“For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?” ~ Deuteronomy 4:7

In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”
~ Psalm 94:19

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:38-39

“Behold, the Lord‘s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” ~ Isaiah 59:1

Here are just a few out of many, many beautiful passages of Scripture that all say the same thing: God is in control. God is sovereign.

God is in control, even of COVID-19. God uses all things to bring us closer to Him and to glorify Himself. He has a plan in this just as in everything else in the world. And it’s going to be okay because He is in control. This COVID-19 was not unforeseen by God. He knew it was going to come and He is already prepared. He is not caught off-guard or surprised by it as we are. He is sovereignly in control of this just as He is everything else.

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

“And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

“(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

~ Matthew 6:25-34

Therefore, with this in mind, as Christians, there is only one appropriate way to respond. Its acronym is HOPE.

– hope
– optimism
– prayer
– encouragement

Hope – this time, if at any time, we need hope. Hope in God’s promises, hope in God’s sovereignty, hope that this will end (because it will), and hope for the future. Because things will get better. They always do.

Optimism – this goes along with hope, but we need to be optimistic. We need to be positive and hopeful for the future because it’s going to be okay. And we need to show encouragement to others by having a ready smile and be willing to be a blessing to others. Optimism can make someone’s day, and during this time of international crisis, we need optimism than ever.

Prayer – as Christians, we are gifted with the blessing of prayer. We can go to God at any time and pray, knowing that He hears us. Please pray! Pray for our leaders that they will make the best decisions regarding COVID-19, pray for the doctors and nurses as they try to heal those who are sick, pray for those who aren’t sick that they would stay healthy, pray for people who are struggling with having to adjust to this new way of life for as long as it lasts, pray that God would use this to bring others to Him, and lastly, pray for hope. We all need it.

Encouragement – along with prayer, and being optimistic and hopeful, we need to be encouraging. Granted, these are dark times (though it has been darker), and we need to show the love of Christ by being an encouragement to our families as we’re stuck together for a time. Be an encouragement to the people you come in contact with. The world does not have the peace and the hope that we do! Show Christ’s love to them by being an encouragement, by living out this hope in your life. We as the body of Christ need to show the love and peace of God by being an encouragement to one another while the world is in chaos.

Hope is such a powerful weapon. Its enemy is despair. And in times like these, it’s easy to despair. But don’t give up hope! These are not the darkest times in our lives. The darkest moment in history was when Christ was crucified on the cross—and He rose again so that we can have eternal hope.

Please. I know these are tough times for us all, but don’t give up. Things will get better. Trust in Christ, He is in control and is our HOPE, even in the midst of COVID-19.

God is in control. It’s going to be okay.

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