Finding Hope

Posted on: May 2, 2020, by :

It could be easy to despair, to lose hope, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not just because of the illness and loss of life that is the direct outcome of the disease, but also because of the loss of jobs, the threat to income, the loss of security as financial nest eggs are eroded, the closure of businesses small and large, the scarcity of some ‘essential’ products, etc. etc. And living in physical isolation from family and friends can breed its own kind of despair, particularly for the more extroverted amongst us!

The good news is that, for those who have eyes to see, there are many signs of hope amidst the struggle, points of light in the darkness. I have been interested of late to note how the evening news bulletins, once completely full of doom and gloom stories, of tragedy and trauma, seem to be including more ‘good news’ stories in their mix of reports: stories of people overcoming obstacles, stories of communities coming together to support those in need, stories of potential breakthroughs in vaccine research and testing. I have no idea whether this is an intentional strategy to counter the despair, to proffer hope, but, intended or not, it is having an impact.

People of faith are grounded in hope: the hope for a better world, the hope for justice, the hope for kindness, the hope for a cure. Sometimes hope can appear to be a little esoteric, perhaps unrealistic, when it is based on a vague ‘wishing and hoping’ that some external divine entity might act to alleviate our suffering. That sort of hope is rarely sustainable, it rarely withstands the rigours of life experience. The sort of hope that I’m pointing to is that captured in this quote from Patricia Livingstone

Hope is not the naïve expectation that life will always go smoothly, that desolation will remain a stranger. Hope is the assurance that God will be with us in whatever happens.

The assurance that God is with us. God may be with us in the form of the people who love and care for us. God may be with us in the song that catches us by surprise and lifts our spirits. God may be with us in the health care worker who puts their own safety at risk for the sake of others. God may be with us in the food that teases our senses, in the book that stirs our imagination, in the tree that draws us in. And God may be with us in the gentle quietness and stillness of our own loungeroom.

In every situation there is hope because there are always people of faith and people of goodwill who yearn for that better world, who seek the wellbeing of others, who offer practical care and encouragement, who have eyes to see that, in all sorts of ways and in all sorts of places, God is with us. May we be the light-bearers, the hope-givers in this challenging time.

David Brooker.

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