On social media, today, we see stories about stores filled to over-capacity with people looking to hoard on basic goods. All this is in response to lockdowns and community quarantines. Some products, such as alcohol, face masks, toilet paper and instant noodles, are now hard to find.
With panic gripping people, more and more basic commodities have become scarce. But what stands out is not the lack of grocery items or food. In times like this, what people lack is a sense of hope.
When anxiety and fear grip our heart, it’s only given that hope will become a scarce resource. What people need now more than ever is a steady supply of hope so that we can face the uncertainties of tomorrow.
How do we find hope in hopeless times? Romans 5:3-4 provides us with a blueprint to keeping hope in abundant supply for us.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”
There are three steps that every one of us must take to ensure that we never run out of hope.
1. The right response to suffering
Suffering will always be present. What matters more than the presence of trial is our response to it. Paul outlines for us how we are to “rejoice in our sufferings,” not to respond in remorse.
It might seem absurd to be happy about our situation. What it means to rejoice in suffering means to keep our eyes fixed on the things we gain in these times, not what we lose. I don’t mean that we ignore reality. But there’s a fine line between reality and pessimism.
2. The willpower to endure
When we respond well to suffering, the next step for us is to stretch our will to endure. There are times when I want to give up. I’m sure you have those times too. Upon hearing about the news of Covid-19 closing borders, I was so tempted to run back home to Iloilo and retreat to safety.
But it was clear for us that we are most needed where we are. People here are losing hope, and we want to be there for them. Perseverance in suffering is necessary for hope. When we give up, there will be no hope for us. Don’t give up.
3. The presence of mind to build character
The last step to creating a wellspring of hope in your life is to have it in us to build on our character. Character is who we are behind closed doors. This is an area of our life we must always be building up.
Without character, we will have no hope. And with character comes the humility to admit our lack and weakness. With that, we learn to surrender more to the only one who can mould our character- The Spirit of God. In this season, I hope we fall at God’s knees and ask first that God would change our hearts before He changes our situation.
Before You Rush to the Grocery, Rush to God
If there’s one thing that should alarm us today, it’s that hope is a scarce resource. That’s why it’s important that we build up as much hope as we can in ourselves- so that we can share that hope with others. The only way we can do that is to dwell more and more in God’s presence. My hope is that we rush to God’s courts faster than we rush to grocery stores. He is our greatest need in these times.