HOPE during COVID #4
I wonder about the long-term effects of COVID-19. It concerns me. Will healthcare workers deal with post-traumatic stress? Will businesses bounce back or suffer bankruptcy? Will our germ phobia persist? Will we hesitate to meet, hug, open our homes?
Life after 9/11 is different from life before 9/11—I think it will be the same for COVID, and that does not make me happy. Actually, it distresses me, but it also pushes me toward the E path of HOPE. It takes a tremendous amount of determination to walk this path, constantly resolving to stay on it, refusing to look to the right or the left. The E path reins in our emotions and focuses us on the One who is faithful and sure. It refuses to allow us to mire in worry and insists we
Not hope for it—expect it. Expect God to be there, to be present, to care, supply, and help. Expect His love to carry you, His goodness to burn bright, His faithfulness to be your rearguard. Expect that what the [COVID] locusts have eaten, He will restore, as promised.
And the God of all grace… will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.1
“Every morning we open our eyes to grace. It is ready for us the moment we need it—grace to carry us through, grace sufficient for every need, grace in every situation.”2 Grace to restore us after an unexpected pandemic.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.3
Expect God to be faithful. Expect to see His mercy. Expect grace.
1 1 Peter 5:10 2 I Was Broken, Too, page 93 (available on Amazon) 3 Lamentations 3:22-23
HOPE during COVID #3
Quarantining may have slowed the spread the of germs in our home, but it hasn’t stopped cynicism from seeping into my heart—so I decided to quarantine my mind. I no longer listen to the posers, pundits, or politicians. I am taking steps to feed, not diminish, my faith so I’m intentionally walking the “P” path of HOPE:
Ponder the Positive, not the Problems
My April suggestion to daily record three things we’re thankful wasn’t an empty exercise but a constructive activity to focus our minds and sensitize our hearts. There’s too much negative to consume us and too much positive we overlook. Every blessing we enjoy is a whisper of what awaits us, a wooing of our hearts to love what’s lasting and real.
God’s promises are ours and, for the most part, vaguely comprehended and underappreciated. So let’s be intentional. Let’s turn our attention to what is sure and true and hope-filled, and tune out the doubt, worry, and fear.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
A sure way to ponder the positive—watch The UK Blessing on YouTube or on my FB page.
Right now, there’s a lot we can’t do, places we can’t visit, people we can’t see. It’s so easy to focus on what we’re doing without, on the closed doors and absent friends. The O path to hope isn’t easy to embark on, but this season is really perfect for it:
O—Open your heart to God’s opportunities.
We have no meetings to attend, stores to shop, entertainment to amuse, or sports to cheer—could God show us something new? Just maybe He’s been waiting for a time such as this to reveal a new direction, call, talent. Let’s ask Him.
I confess, I’ve been in something of a funk, unmotivated and uninspired, but I would hate to come out on the other side of this isolation and sense that I missed an opportunity. So let’s just put it out there—let’s open our hearts and ask God if He has a new, different path for us to embark on. Let’s be open for an adventure!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph. 3:20-21 (emphasis added)
Our lives are isolated, the news is bleak, politics are combative. We’re without answers or antidotes but have lots of agonies and apprehensions. How can we have hope when something as simple as checking the weather app gives us COVID statistics?
While we pray for physical healing, medical solutions, financial relief, and distanced family members, God invites us to look Higher. Our attention is on immediate needs, His is on eternal blessing. We see frustrating circumstances, He sees temporary pain. If we don’t learn to see as He sees, we will lose hope because people are still dying, financial need is still increasing, loved ones are still quarantined. But God, He sees the end from the beginning. He sees the eternal overriding the temporal. He sees gain, victory, peace, not loss, defeat, and fear.
In I Was Broken, Too, I define the “H” path to hope as Hold Your Eyes Higher. On this path we look above our situation and settle our eyes—and our faith—on the One who is greater than our daily challenges. We decide to look at God, who is greater and wiser, and trust His plan and purposes. Of course it’s not easy, but it’s a choice, and choosing to trust the One who knit together our bodies, calls the stars by name, and commands the waves to roll will restore our hope.
Did you take the April challenge? At the beginning of the month I suggested we write three things we’re thankful for every day in April. My husband & I listed 112 blessings, even with four days away and several days of forgetting.
Attention to our blessings will change our attitude and tune our hearts to appreciate what we could easily overlook. Suddenly our senses are alert to what we’ve been given and how many good things are ours, even during this COVID time when our pleasures are stripped down. Expressing gratitude not only changes us, it honors God.
It’s the praising life that honors me.
As soon as you set your foot on the Way, I’ll show you my salvation.
Psalm 50:23 MSG
If you kept a list of thanks in April, keep it going! If you didn’t, start May with a grateful heart. And don’t just think your thanks, write it down. Be a psalmist and pen your praise to God. I’ve listed many benefits of a thankful heart, but here’s one more—gratitude cultivates hope, something we all need right now. (Which just happens to be the topic of May’s blog posts.)
Image by thearkoftestamentofgod