Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things . . . and the peace of God will be with you.
It seems every conversation now eventually turns to COVID-19, aka “the Coronavirus,” aka “quarantine,” aka “Everything That’s Going On.” In the absence of happy hours, social gatherings, family vacations, graduations, proms, concerts and music festivals, movies—all the normal springboards of conversations, we turn to Everything That’s Going On.
That’s fine. It’s expected. It’s one thing to which we can all relate right now.
What I find alarming is how fearful, despairing, anxious, and frustrated the conversations turn, and how quickly they turn that way. Blame is thrown left and right, conspiracy theories abound, conjecture arises at how bad things may continue to get.
Yes, those are real concerns. They are realities that we are all confronting together and there are no easy answers. So I am not by any stretch suggesting that “Things aren’t as bad as all that.” Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. We’ll have to wait and see.
But I want to offer a word, to my brothers and sisters in the faith especially, but also to anyone who happens to come across.
Despair breeds despair.
Hope breeds hope.
It is important in times like these—which are not unprecedented, by the way—that people not give themselves over to a spirit of despair. We all know things are weird. We all know things are frustrating. We all know things are scary. We all know it, so why do we further dwell on them just for the sake of conversation?
It is far better, especially for those of us who claim Christ, to orient our thoughts and conversations on the One in whom we hope, who we believe can turn even the worst circumstances into good, who has conquered death and who even now is working in ways seen and unseen to bring glory out of hopelessness.
If you don’t see it, then it may very well be because you have not taken responsibility for sharing it. It could be that in your circle, you are the one who needs to bring a bit of hope to your friends and family, to share the hope you have with others and let it grow.
If you believe in Easter, in Christ’s resurrection, then you must—we all must—give that hope a place to thrive in our hearts and in our minds.
Hope breeds hope.
This isn’t a whistling-in-the-graveyard, naive optimism that I’m talking about here. If you believe in Christ and you think that is what hope is in a time like this, then I’d dare to say you haven’t understood who Christ is to begin with. I’m talking about the expectation that in Christ, God continues to work out restoration even while the world around us seems to be in shambles. I’m talking about leaning on God’s Spirit for strength and not continually turning to the worst case scenarios as food for thought.
There is plenty to be angry about, there is plenty to be anxious about. Why be another source for it among the people who you love? Why not recolor the world around you to show the vibrant and life-sustaining hope that you find in Christ and share it with a world in desperate need of it?
If anyone should, it should be the people of Christ.
If you found this encouraging, then please share with a friend. The premier episode of Southern Reverend is available on Spotify and iTunes, with more on the way. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook. Y'all take care and be good to one another.