From Headlines to Hope

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The headlines today are ominous: Senators Player is First NHLer To Test Positive for Coronavirus; How the Pandemic is Highlighting Canada’s Class Divide; BC Declares Public Health Emergency; Public Pensions Take Hit from COVID-19 Concerns.  As I was writing this, our daughter in Utah informed us that there had been a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in the Salt Lake Valley, just a few miles from where our son, Dan, and his family live. It is as though a dark cloud has descended over our country, and the planet.  The problems with news headlines is that they offer few (if any) solutions and little to no hope.

In the light of such troubling outlook on the near to midterm, what is our response to be.  An Old Testament Scripture comes to mind: “But you must return to your God.  Maintain love and justice, and always put your hope in God” (Hosea 12:6).  Let’s look at these one at a time.

Seasons of crisis such as COVID-19 remind us of the uncertainty of life.  In Hosea’s day, Israel was in desperate need of security, a sense that the future would be brighter than the present or the past.  Yet rather than finding peace in Yahweh (Hebrew name for God), they sought peace through wealth and affluence, just as we do today.  When the markets respond with panic selling, driving down the value of our retirement accounts, we panic, wondering how we will afford our homes, our cottage or our winter pilgrimage to warmer climates.  We lay awake at night wondering if the dreaded virus is going to creep into our lives and rob us of those we hold dear.  We should, like David of old, say “But you O LORD are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts my head high.  I lay down and slept.  I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me” (Psalm 3:2,4 NLT).  This is a time for us to return to our God, to experience intimacy with him and to abide in a peace that other-worldly.

This is also a time when we are to maintain consistency in love and justice.  When Jesus was asked about who is our neighbour (Luke 10:29), he told a parable about a man who fell among a band of robbers and was seriously injured.  Religious leaders passed him by, but it was a hated Samaritan man who stopped and cared for the poor victim.  I think the saddest part of this story is that those who were religious were not the ones who demonstrated love and justice.  The same can be true.  Sometimes those professing no faith demonstrate are love and care for our fellow man than we do in the church.  Here are four practical things you can do to maintain love and mercy:

  • Reach out regularly (at least each week) to those who are especially at greater risk because of the COVID-19 (seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions).
  • Offer to do errands, including grocery shopping) for others (single parents who need to be home with their children, as well as those at risk).
  • Be generous toward those who are out of work and have reduced income because of COVID-19.  Even small gifts can mean a great deal.
  • Pray for one another, those who are on the front lines providing medical and protective services, and our leaders.

Lastly, this is a time to place our hope in God.  It is likely that the dreaded virus will come knocking at the door of one who reads this, or at the door of someone close to us.  It can be frightening – terrifying!  Undoubtedly, we all feel the economic uncertainty of this days.  Yet we are told to “not to be arrogant or to set our hope in the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).  The Apostle Paul wrote to his friends at Corinth, describing a time when the and those with him were completely overwhelmed , even afraid for their lives.  Paul wrote, “He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us.  We have put our hope in Him that He will deliver us again” (2 Corinthians 1:10). Headlines are designed to capture our attention, but hope in the One who created us and loves us still enables us to live life above the headlines in a world of purpose and hope.

We would love to hear from you. How are you coping through this time of uncertainty? What are you learning? How are you reaching out to serve others? Please leave your thoughts and comments below.