“Which of God’s promises have meant the most to you lately?”
That was the final question in our Bible study discussion on Zoom last week. “That God is with me all the time; that He promised to never leave me nor forsake me,” Rosanne offered. I followed with, “That Jesus will return again as the righteous judge and make all things right.”
We live in a time when it seems like a lot has gone wrong.
- A microscopic virus has wreaked havoc around the world, leaving millions dead, and profoundly affecting most aspects of daily life.
- In addition to the health threat of COVID-19, restrictions due to the virus have limited social interactions and disrupted world economies.
- Family breakdown and food insecurity are on the rise.
- At the same time, political polarization is driving families apart, sending us racing into our ideological silos.
- Truth is being assaulted from every angle — a perfect breeding ground for the proliferation of conspiracy theories and confusion — leaving people even more divided.
- Isolation, loneliness, fear, and despair are on the rise.
Indeed, a lot has gone wrong.
Desperate for Hope
People are desperate for hope. Enter the vaccine! Never before in human history has a cure for a pandemic emerged so quickly. We can foresee a time in the next few months when we will be able to meet together again, for in-person worship and in-home hospitality. We will be able to hug, to laugh and to pray together.
But hope in the vaccine teeters on the edge. Will there be enough of it? Will enough people take the vaccine to reach “herd immunity”? Will the burgeoning virus variants outrun the vaccine distribution and injections? Will we ever see the end of this pandemic or are we on the cusp of another one?
While we wait for the vaccine rollout, there are other things to hope in — our wise investment choices, our growing real estate equity, the warmer weather allowing us to meet our friends outdoors, borders opening up again so we can travel, to name a few.
We are clinging to any sign of hope. Yet, it does not take long before we realize that these hopes are on shaky ground.
Circumstances change and suddenly we are afloat, looking for another lifebuoy of hope on which to cling. Pandemics have a way of pulling back the curtain, revealing misplaced hope, and driving us deeper into the search for real hope.
Where can I find hope...a hope that does not disappoint?
I have to find my life in the context of a greater story that transcends my circumstances. I look to Easter morning and the empty tomb. Jesus died and rose again.
Jesus loved us so much that he bound himself to the human condition — taking into himself all the injustice, suffering, and sin of humanity — and allowed it to destroy him, to kill him. On our behalf, he fought the rulers, the authorities, the power of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12). And he won! He defeated death. On the third day he rose victorious and inaugurated a new world order.
His resurrection opened up a new future of the universe and of humanity — one governed by love and justice and peace.
A Life of Hope
My hope lies in binding myself to Jesus, above all else, and placing my hope in this greater narrative of resurrection.
I forsake all other hopes, all other alliances, and trust my life to Jesus.
He is the one who can rescue me from sin and death. He is the righteous Judge who will return and set all things right, make all things new. He will return to fully establish his kingdom, creating a new heaven and a new earth. Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:57)
Easter reminds me that this life is but a shadow of what is to come. Death is not the final word. Resurrection and a new creation are where the story is heading.
How I live my life now counts for eternity. Placing my hope on the promise of Jesus’ return to rectify all things frees me to fulfill my calling now — to love God with all that I am and to love my neighbour as myself.
Resting in this hope, I can live a life of hope, even in a pandemic.
Krista Barlow hails from Colorado but has spent more than 25 years living in the Comox Valley. She is a retired teacher and lifelong educator, previously working as a campus minister, educational assistant, and special education teacher. Krista holds academic degrees in the fields of Nutrition and Dietetics, Theology, and Education. In retirement, Krista wanted to focus her energies on activities she could pursue with purpose and passion—becoming a chaplain for the Town of Comox has been just that. She considers it a privilege to listen deeply and walk alongside the people who serve her community. For fun, Krista loves swimming, hiking and biking in and around the Comox Valley with her husband Dave. She’s also a huge fan of her grandson, his parents, and her daughter.