Living With Trust And Hope

| Cathy Horner

The coronavirus is a tough enemy. People worldwide have been reeling from the blows COVID-19 has landed on our lives, affecting us physically, financially, socially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Queen Elizabeth delivered a bolstering address, encouraging UK citizens to live out the weeks of social isolation with cooperation, resolve, humor, and goodwill towards others.  I was personally uplifted by her speech, but I know that there is always an undercurrent of anxious thinking that bubbles up around unsettled lives and uncertain futures.

Instead of succumbing to anxiety and despair, I’ve learned to stabilize my thinking through the old practice of “preaching to myself.” Christian leaders today call it meditating on biblical truths. I highly recommend it.

The foundational truth I tell myself is this: I can trust in the goodness of God. This is mind-blowing to all the skeptics who question God’s existence or, at least, his character right now. But rather than fall into that pit of unbelief, I intentionally focus my mind on scriptural truths about God. The result is this: I am able to peacefully receive the blows of coronavirus upon my life, for I visualize myself falling backwards from them into the goodness of God. (Thanks, Paula Rinehart, for that wonderful word image!)

Here are the truths I preach to myself, which marvelously help me live with trust and hope in God:

  • God, in his goodness and mercy, draws near to the brokenhearted and fearful.

  • His very presence brings us good: comfort, strength, endurance, and peace.

      • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

      • Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

  • His goodness is most brilliantly displayed in the cross of Christ, where his sinless Son died, and then rose again. Jesus sacrificially bore the punishment for our sin upon the cross, thereby opening the way for our forgiveness, reconciliation to the Father, adoption into God’s eternal family, and renewed hearts and lives. This should infuse us with celebrative joy and hope!

      • But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:2-5).

  • God is still on his sovereign throne over the universe, so the coronavirus and the suffering it would create did not take him by surprise.

  • Since Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden, the Bible teaches that sin has infected all human hearts and even nature itself. The destruction we see from natural diseases and calamities paints a picture of how horrible sin really is, and makes us wonder at the grace of Jesus Christ, which offers us salvation from our personal pit of sin. The Bible teaches that the world will continue to witness the corruption of man and nature until the Lord comes again to establish his forever kingdom and set things right.

      • For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:20-23).

  • When God allows suffering in our lives, he always has wise and good redemptive purposes in mind. The trials and heartaches of the coronavirus remind us that God loves us and wants us to repent of all those things that we’ve been clinging to other than Jesus Christ. He wants us to consider the fleeting nature of health and wealth, the emptiness of upward mobility, and the vanity of pride and selfishness versus the surpassing value of belonging wholeheartedly to Christ.

      • …We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us (Romans 5:3-5).

  • As I daily read the Bible and pray, seeking God’s heart and perspective on my life, I find stability, peace, and eternal wisdom. As Elisabeth Elliott wrote, “A quiet heart comes from a long, steady, earnest, sustained gaze at God Himself.”

      • He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge (Isaiah 33:6).

      • For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present more the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

  • As I surrender to God’s redemptive purposes for me during the coronavirus pandemic, whether they are to purify my faith, or to cleanse my heart of selfish tendencies, or to move my hands towards compassionate service, or to inflame my desire to share with the lost that there is rescue and hope in Christ, I am drawn even closer to God in loving trust.

  • Finally, since I belong to Christ, I am just a sojourner through this life, and this world is not my true home. So whether I survive the blows of coronavirus or I physically succumb and go to heaven at rest in my Savior’s arms, I will rejoice in His good and redemptive will.

      • Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights (Habakkuk 3:17-19).