Good morning from Westminster, MD!
As I shared my post two weeks ago, measures to control the spread of COVID-19 were just starting to be taken in my area. From a canceled 5k, to online-only church, to social distancing recommendations, the restrictions seemed more like short-term inconveniences than lifestyle altering changes. However, two weeks later, many businesses are not operating, grocery stores cannot keep items on the shelf, and going out to a restaurant is a thing of the past. Life has changed and uncertainty seems to rule the day.
Where does hope fit into all of this? That is the question that comes to mind as I ponder our current reality. In the midst of fear and uncertainty created by an unseen but real threat, how do we avoid a tailspin into despair and hopelessness? In some ways, that is the default path. If we allow ourselves to drift, we are very likely to drift into a path of anxiety, depression, and negativity. So how do we avoid the drift?
For me, it comes back to our anchor of choice. Much like a boat, our ability to stand strong depends on the ability of our anchor to hold up to the current. In other words, which force is stronger- our anchor or the current?
This is where hope comes in. If our hope is anchored to something that has been threatened by COVID-19 and the fallout it created, we are certain to drift. If your anchor is moving in the current, being pushed toward hopelessness and fear, you have very little choice but to follow. Whether it is your job, your health, your finances, or any other number of great, but temporary “hope anchors”, they are only as helpful as their ability to remain steady. Unfortunately, as COVID-19 has shown us, they are not nearly as steady as we would like to imagine.
I do not pretend to have this all figured out. Just like everyone else, I have dealt with anxiousness and uncertainty over the past two weeks. However, I have not lost all hope. This is not because I know what is going to happen or because I am ignoring the current situation. It is because my hope is anchored to something stronger than the “current” created by our present realities.
The longer I live, the more clear it becomes that anchoring our hope in the only truly solid foundation, the God who created us and love us, makes all of the difference. In moments when everything else is moving, we need something that holds strong. The writer of the book of Hebrews in the Bible wrote, “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” (Hebrews 6:19, NLT) The writer is saying that through Christ, we have access to the God who made and sustains everything, and desires the best for us.
Hope grounded in someone who does not change and always desires the best for us, no matter the circumstances, is hope that can sustain us through anything. Yes, the challenges are big and real, but they are smaller the God who anchors me so all hope is not lost.
There is light beyond the darkness of today. Let’s anchor our hope in the one Foundation that will allow us to stand strong and tall enough to see it.
– James Belt