We sometimes use hope in different ways. I hope to see you soon. I hope the kids don’t wake up too early. I hope you find a job. I hope you do well in your new job. Or this year – I hope COVID goes away! As we navigate life, however, I’m not sure if we actually mean ‘hope’ or if we really mean ‘wishful thinking.’ To be honest, it may depend on our understanding of hope. The Easter season is upon us again, and while we can have fun ‘hoping’ for the Easter Bunny to leave some treats, there’s a much more powerful story of hope that we can’t forget.
This is our second Easter dealing with COVID. Last Easter, I posted Sunday’s Coming BUT Today is Good Friday (COVID-19 Edition), which was a special revamp of the previous year’s Easter post. COVID was fairly new and the future was completely unknown. Some world leaders were saying everything would be back to normal by Easter, while others said the summer was more realistic. While very few were predicting a vaccine any time soon, there was an expectation that it would somehow go away. That said, I think these comments were all founded in the ‘wishful thinking’ kind of hope.
We experience true hope during Easter. During Christmas, we see glimpses of hope when we celebrate Jesus’ birth. That hope is carried through to Easter, when we focus on Jesus’ journey to the cross, and ultimately, to the resurrection on Sunday, when Jesus conquers sin and death. It’s not wishful thinking, it’s a certain hope. We know it happened, and because of that, we can expect Him to return for His followers one day.
But let’s be honest for a moment. If we were one of Jesus’ followers on Saturday (the day after Jesus died), I don’t think we would have been very hopeful. It certainty appeared that all hope was lost. It was probably the longest, and saddest day of their lives. But while they didn’t know what would happen the next day, God knew.
Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine that God would know some ultimate plan. If there’s some future blessing, why doesn’t He stop all of the hurt and pain in the meantime — at least speed up the process for us. We don’t always see the blessing in suffering, but we can often look back and realize that things were happening during the process. Moments or plans that we didn’t always see or recognize.
Reflecting on Easter Saturday, I see a day that represents our darkest moments. Even when we feel like God has abandoned us and we feel lost and broken, God is still with us — carrying out and preparing for the next stage of our journey.
Many have been experiencing an ‘Easter Saturday’ during this COVID season. Just remember, this time last year, we were…
hoping to return to work;
hoping to return to school;
hoping to see our loved ones again in person;
hoping for a vaccine;
hoping to reach the ‘new normal’;
hoping for the end of COVID.
Many of these things, however, have been accomplished, and we’re on the other side! Hope has come and we continue to journey and navigate through the process of returning to normal and understanding what living with COVID will actually mean for our everyday lives.
In the middle of these seasons, however, we often feel like we’re waiting forever to see and understand how it’s all supposed to play out. Sometimes hope feels like wishful thinking.
But hope doesn’t start in the middle of chaos, hope started with God. In the beginning. He is our hope.
God is navigating our narrative, and leading us through the journey.
I recently learned of Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett. She’s a 35-year-old African American who has studied coronaviruses for six years. She studied, not to develop a vaccine, but to understand the family of viruses. It’s already impressive that she’s only 35-years-old and significantly contributing to such an important vaccine.
What blew me away, however, was that before COVID-19 showed its ugly face, she already had years of experience studying similar viruses. She was already ahead of the health crisis. Whether she knew (or would agree), it was God preparing her or not, the point is — even before we knew the crisis was here, God was inspiring and making plans for a solution.
Hope exists. The narrative is inspired. We may be broken, and we may experience difficult circumstances, but the narrative, as a whole, is inspired.
We can expect hope to fulfill itself when we’re ready to do what God has inspired us to do. We become part of the inspiring journey. We see it play out throughout scripture, and we see it play out today.
And when hope IS fulfilled, let us not forget to recognize it.
When things get better, we’re often too quick to forget that we were hoping for something in the first place. A year ago, we were hoping for a vaccine as soon as possible. When it actually arrived sooner than expected, we tend to be quicker to complain about the possible side effects and which one we don’t want, than we are to celebrate its fast appearance.
While the media didn’t share it right away with us, Dr. Corbett was being prepared to arrive at the vaccine much quicker than we first thought.
Hope is alive and well.
My prayer this Easter is that we reflect during these remaining ‘COVID days,’ knowing that we’ve overcome so much, and brighter and hope-filled days are still to come.
Want to read more? You can read previous Easter posts here: