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What People Need Now More Than Ever: HOPE

Pandemic, depression, riots; words that do not inspire hope. Yet in the midst of some of the most difficult issues that our country has faced at one time, hope can still be found. As a committed follower of Jesus, I believe that we should be hopeful and in turn be ambassadors of hope to the world. But how can I be hope filled and where do I look for answers?

The first thing to know is Biblical hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised. It believes that eventually things will work out. In fact according to 1 Corinthians 13:13, hope along with faith and love, will abide forever. So we then know that hope isn’t just wishful thinking but is grounded in the certainty of who God is.

Let me illustrate. Let’s say you are in a dark cave with only a flashlight to guide you along a path so you don’t fall into any abyss. You know there is an exit to the cave somewhere, but every time you turn off the flashlight just to see if there is any light, you have nothing but pitch darkness. Eventually at some point when you turn off the flashlight, far off in the distance you see light from a curved opening. You now know that you have found your way out. But wait, you are still in the cave. Seeing the light of the opening gives you hope, but you haven’t yet emerged from the cave (problem).

This is how it is now. With the pandemic, economic depression, and race riots all around, we are still in the dark cave. What we are looking for is the light of the opening so we can have hope. The light will show us a way out, but until we emerge, we still have to deal with the problems.

A second way we can get more hope is by reading Biblical stories on how God delivered people from their dilemmas. Listen to Romans 15:4: “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises.” Essentially if God did it for these people in the Bible, and He is no respecter of persons, then God can also do it for us.

A third way is to hear present day testimonies of how people overcame their issues, such as medical, financial, and relationship hardships, to discover new and better ways to live. When I hear stories of people overcoming against all odds, it once again strengthens my resolve in that I too can come through the difficulties to see the light of day.

So what are my hopes during the triple threat of health, money, and safety? For openers I believe that medically people can start taking better care of themselves. I don’t mean that we do social distancing and wear masks forever. I am talking about learning to eat better, get more rest, exercise more, but also to have better mental health. Studies are showing that people, especially families, are connecting more and therefore kids in particular are feeling more a part of their parent’s lives. Also, think of the creativity that is being unleashed in discovering a vaccine. This can certainly produce hope for the future.

Regarding finances, I believe the tragedy of lost jobs and economic hardship has the potential of unleashing creativity in people. The results can be new and better careers, and new ideas on how to do work better, such as staying home rather than going to an office. Look at how all businesses have been “forced” to rethink how to make work more productive, more interesting, and maybe more meaningful.

The riots, as gut wrenchingly horrible as they are, have the potential of seeing more racial justice that has been needed all along. Nobody in their right mind would say that burning down businesses and looting are good, but if true racial justice comes out as a result then that would be good coming out of bad.

We can choose to see these most difficult times as the apocalypse or we can see them as an opportunity for hope. We believers should be on the forefront of a hope crusade, telling ourselves and the world that Jesus is not only the answer to all our problems, but to give us life and life more abundantly.

The church has a golden opportunity to make a true difference for good in this world by willing to lay down our selfishness to serve others. The needs are as big as ever and the sky is the limit of how we can be change makers and hope bringers.

So this is my conclusion according to Romans 15:13. “So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

May God give us the tenacity and resolve to be the ambassadors of hope so desperately needed. Now is the time for God’s people to stand up and be the most loving, positive force on the planet. Jesus, come and reveal all that you are and release your church to show that you and you alone are the hope of the world. AMEN!

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