“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” Romans 15:4, NLT
As of 3/23/2020 when I wrote COVID19, PANIC & GOD’S STEADY HAND, about 12,000 lives had been lost worldwide to the COVID19 pandemic. Now fast forward to April 14th, barely a month later, that number is now a staggering 123,126 lives lost, spanning 213 countries and territories around the world (World Health Organization).
The significant amount of lives that have already been lost due to this pandemic is heartbreaking. I personally know a handful of individuals who lost family members to this deadly virus; and all around the globe families are mourning but barely able to say a proper goodbye to their departed loved ones due to gathering restrictions. This no doubt further compounds the numbing effect of their grief.
But I am not here to further elaborate on the pain the whole world is working through right now – as I don’t believe that helps. I am instead here to extend my empathy and condolences, and also to share some encouraging words and redirect our focus to a source of hope that I cannot keep to myself. The well of inexhaustible hope I’m referring to is God’s Word.
Hope, is the expectation of good, and an outlook on life that we can grow. Romans 15:4, the verse referenced above, reminds us that God’s Word is chock full of hope and encouragement; stories of triumph and tales of dramatic turn arounds. And the same God who put on displays of love and victory show-downs is still in our midst today. He is capable and willing of bringing about relief to us, when we draw closer to Him.
Friend, will you draw closer to Him?
Amidst this crisis, it will do us much good to spend time in God’s amazing Word so that our hope remains alive. Nothing external in this life is capable of infusing us with lasting hope. As you aim to dive in, may I suggest somewhere to start? Consider starting with the most transformative of all stories – that of Jesus Christ. The savior of the world who endured terrible suffering from the hands of those He came to die for—but through it all, He meditated on the hope and future that lay ahead of Him. Though Jesus, who was 100% human as we are, went through pain, bleeding, betrayal and tears, He did not allow that current bleak circumstance to derail his purpose or distract His heavenly focus. He stayed on task for love’s sake. For our sake.
And we can learn from our Lord's response.
I urge you friends, to utilize some of this time of lockdown to gain greater familiarity and a deeper level of intimacy with God’s love letter to you. Let’s swap some of the Netflix-and-chill time with some internal stamina-building Bible consumption! Our future selves will thank us for it.
To access an online Bible or to download the Bible App, go here: http://www.bible.com/
Suggested Bible readings:
Take your time as you read through one of Jesus’ disciples’ - John’s account of the passion of Jesus Christ as He loved all the way through His final days physically on earth.
John chapter 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 & 21.