Updated: May 3, 2020
Christians are a people of hope. We uniquely, by the blessing of the Bible, can know and understand that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37). Remembering the ultimate triumph of God brings us assurance and calmness in the face of an uncertain world.
We must face reality, though, that Christians are not immune from disaster. Believers get cancer, lose their homes in tornadoes, get fired from jobs, and will not be immune from the effects of the coronavirus. Here is the difference...while the world panics, we remain a people of hope.
What does it mean to say we are a people of hope? Many of our actions will be the same as the world's. Christians, just like everyone else, should follow established protocol for limiting the spread of COVID19. We should be cautious and smart in our interactions with people.
Here is the difference, however. We do not lose heart. We are not people of panic or fear, but rather, a people of hope. We understand that the wise hand of God's sovereignty continues to hold us at all times, and these days are no exception! We lay our heads on the pillow of certainty that our God is a rock and refuge for those who trust in Him. We do all we can to care for people and be channels of blessing to those who are hurting. Yet, we also understand that this world is not our home.
Hebrews 13:14 reminds us, "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come." While we want to do all we can to maximize each day on this earth and help others do the same, we are a people who are living for the life to come. We are a people of hope because our hearts are set on eternity, not merely the here and now.
Being a people of hope does not mean we are cavalier. We should not be walking around unaware of the challenges of our day, nor should we be indifferent about the suffering happening around us. The opposite is true. We care, we serve, we grieve, we hurt...we just do so with hope. We live knowing that our service in the name of Jesus will be rewarded in the end. We sacrifice to serve others, knowing that, as Jim Elliot famously said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
"But what about death and loss of a loved one? What if the suffering of this world takes someone we love?" Then we grieve. We grieve deeply, and we feel profound pain. Yet even then, we do "not grieve as others do who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13). The tears look the same, the cry sounds the same, but the hope behind the tears makes all the difference in the world.
We are a people of hope. Let us stay informed, be wise, seek to help others, and take necessary precautions. But let us not live in fear. I suspect this virus will come and go -- or at least the worldwide interruption of our lives on a daily basis. Though I hope the lessons Christians can learn from it never leave us. May we learn the value of loving our neighbor while at the same time, learning to long for heaven a little more each day. The promise of heaven and the guarantee of life without sin, shame, sickness, or death is ours. It is real, and it is coming. To this amazing hope we cling. Of this blessed assurance, we tell.
For we are a people of hope!
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