Faith, hope and love are described by the apostle Paul as the three qualities that last forever. In my experience, we hear a lot about faith and love, but some how the quality of hope doesn't seem to get as much attention. Still, Peter tells us that hope is an essential aspect of our new life in Christ. He says it in these words, "You have been born again to a living hope..." (1 Peter 1:3). Psychologists and Social Scientists tell us that as long as people have hope they will continue to: fight, move forward, and hold on. It is when people loose hope that they tend to give up and give in to the destructive situations and challenges they face. I think that in the face of the covid-19 virus crisis, this is a time, especially, when people need to hold on to hope. I would like to share two examples of what I mean...
My grandfather, on my mother's side, died during World War II and I never had the privilege of meeting him. He didn't die serving in the military; he died from pneumonia. He died just two days before the release of penicillin to the general public. It had been developed, but it's initial use was directed towards the military. Had he lived, just a few more days, the antibiotic may have saved his life.
The psychiatrist, Victor Frankle, tells the story of the liberation of the prison camps in Germany during World War II. Many of the prisoners had longed for, prayed for, and hoped for the day of their release. But there were some who gave up hope; when this happened, says Frankle, death was soon to follow. Unfortunately there were some who gave up hope and died just days before their camp was liberated. If they could only have held on to hope for a few more days they would have experienced the freedom that they longed for.
Psalm 147:11 is a good verse for us to meditate on during this time of corona crisis: "The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love." This crisis is a threat and an annoyance; but this too shall pass. We are called to hold on to hope in God's unfailing love! Without a doubt, He will see us through.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.