No one is exempted from crisis. In every stage of our life, we face some kind of crisis. Do I eat the one marshmallow now or wait so I can have two instead? The yellow shirt or the red one? A course in natural science or economics? Operation or chemotherapy. Should I avail of the vaccine or should I wait for herd immunity? Oftentimes what we learn and who we become have been dramatically shaped and influenced by the crisis we go through. How we respond to them is crucial in navigating and thriving in life.
The COVID-19 pandemic has become more than just a global health issue. It brought about a very extensive dilemma that’s disrupting and shaking institutions, economies, and governments to the core. Most individuals now have faced or are facing prolonged isolation and disconnection due to quarantine rules and travel bans. The uncertainty brought by this crisis marked an increase in suicide rate as more people are prone to suffer mental health issues as anxiety and fear permeate their everyday existence.
Where threat, fear and tragedy become the norm of life, hopelessness thrives.
Our sense of harmony and peace is always connected to our ability to be in control. We always feel safe inside our own bubble. When we lose control over our situation and the solution is nowhere to be found, we feel helpless. When we feel helpless, hopelessness follows.
Hopelessness kills. It dulls our creativity, dampens our passion, stifle our faith and sabotages our freedom.
Ultimately, we feel imprisoned and become a victim of our circumstance. It’s a hard place to be in unless our heart attitude and perspective change. Hopelessness, like a dark cloud, engulfs us and causes our perspective to skew towards what could go wrong, instead of to hope – to have a positive expectation that something will turn out right.
Hope is more than a wish
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Commonly, our understanding of hope is synonymous to wish. It is to wish for, to expect a fulfillment of a desire. Its strength is in the person’s intensity of desiring. However, biblical hope is different. It is the confident expectation of what God has promised therefore its strength is in His faithfulness.
Hope makes us alive. While hopelessness kills our reason for living, hope empowers us to live it out. Our faith soars where our hope flourishes. So, whatever happens we have to cultivate hope. The starting point is, hope in the LORD!
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
Nowadays, people tend to desire, desire, desire, get, get, get. Social media, sadly, has become the platform for this unending ‘wishing’ frenzy as insecurity, jealousy and pride escalate. FOMO, the fear-of-missing-out pushes people to the place of utter discouragement and disillusionment. When our hope is anchored in what we desire, what we are planning to do, what we wish to happen, we are bound to experience sickness of the heart. It is the kind of hope with an empty assurance, an expectation void of faith.
True hope on the other hand is one that’s anchored on God – in His nature. Our God is faithful and true to His promises. We hope not in the things that we see or what we are able to control but on things that are eternal, on God Himself.
From a sick heart to tree of life
“Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
From this verse we understand that having our desires fulfilled is a matter of delighting in God first – making Him our greatest desire and devotion. And our desires that are rooted in God, once fulfilled, become a life-giving tree (Proverbs 13:12) for others. Our stories, testimonies and history with God are the fruits of the tree from which others can feed on and find their healing from their struggles of helplessness and hopelessness. Once I heard from a person I respect, “The person with the greatest hope is the person with the most influence.” At the end of the day, we influence others to the measure of our hope.
Christ is our Hope
Finally, hope is not just a mere optimistic expectation. Hope is a person- Jesus Christ. Paul exhorts us that there is a mystery hidden for ages but now is revealed: Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). With this truth we are assured that our present-future is glorious despite the challenges and uncertainties ahead. Our hope is anchored in the Eternal Christ. With this reality, we can be instruments of glory in the midst of this darkness and our God-stories become life-giving fruits for others who are hungry and desperate to taste and see God’s goodness. Our lives filled with hope can become a beacon pointing others to the Eternal Hope, Jesus.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.