This morning I woke up so discouraged and hopeless. Sometimes these feelings wash over me during the day as I stand at the kitchen sink and look out over the forest behind my house. Nothing feels normal. Every day I wait for news about which college or school is shutting down or what new data is now revised. We’re living in confusion. We’re living in anger over policies so many of us disagree with or misunderstand related to this virus that keeps us still living in fear, distrust, and sadness. And there’s no end in sight as I read conflicting news stories, research, and social media posts. And since people disagree, there’s tension everywhere–about the virus itself, about the upcoming election, about social justice issues, about church gatherings, and about masking in public. I’ve never lived in or heard of a time like this in history. It’s a weary, sad time for so many of us.
But I want to dwell in hope not despair.
I recall Romans 15:13 where Paul writes this: “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.”
I ask God to fill me with hope by the Holy Spirit. I ask God to remind me what I haven’t lost in COVID-19 and what’s always available to us at all times. What came to mind is this simple list of 5 things that bring joy and true hope to my soul:
Supernatural peace. We haven’t lost the shalom peace that can fill our hearts in any circumstance. This peace passes understanding. It’s the peace I pray from 2 Thessalonians 5:17: “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” Peace brings a steadiness inside that we know God is in control, that God is working for His good eternal purposes, and that God will give us everything we need to endure what He is asking us to endure. 2 Peter 1:13 promises that “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Love. We haven’t lost the ability to experience God’s abounding love and the ability to love others. We know from Romans 5:5 that “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” In this amazing love, we can now love one another, serve one another, and care for one another. Nothing can take away our ability to experience God’s love and then love others.
Purpose. If we’re still here on earth, God has prepared “good works in advance” for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). If we’re still here, we live a sent life to bless others and lead them to Jesus.
The Ability to Worship. We worship God in spirit and truth no matter where we are. And we know from Romans 12 that you can “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” I also recall the command from 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Growth. We haven’t lost our ability to learn and grow and mature. We haven’t lost our ability to self-reflect, listen to the Holy Spirit, read the Bible, and pray. We haven’t lost our ability to trust God to teach us how to live in this new world. We haven’t lost our ability to become more and more like Jesus every day. I remember that God has “given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 2:14).
I move on into the day knowing that whatever I’m losing right now doesn’t compare to what I still have and will continue to gather into my soul no matter what happens today or tomorrow. I step into peace, love, purpose, worship, and growth today.