By Kristen Hartman | March 30, 2020
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
The first time I heard the words I immediately thought, “as opposed to what, ‘bad hope’?? Isn’t hope inherently good?”
They were interesting questions to ponder — seemingly detached from real life — and then the snow globe of life got a vigorous shaking and I’m still not sure which way is up.
But I know what good hope is now. Or, I know Who good hope is. I’ve always needed Jesus, but I’ve never wanted Him as intensely as I do today.
God is faithful and His character is unchanged by the overwhelming changes in our world. My confidence in the face of global crisis is not in any human leadership or wisdom, though I’m grateful for those working tirelessly for humanity’s collective well-being. My confidence isn’t in a vaccine even as I pray one comes in record time. My confidence isn’t in the goodness of people individually or collectively to resist the urge to hoard and to care for the vulnerable. No, the basis of my confidence in shaky and uncertain days is in the unshakable and certain character of God.
Because of that — because of Him — I keep coming back to the truth that we can have hope in the trials of today, and the hope is good. We can give thanks to God for this community, even when we can’t gather together. We continue to be members of the same body even in our temporary separation.
And our faith is growing. My faith may be growing in my corner of Anaheim, but our joint faith is also growing. What a privilege in these strangely isolated days to be praying for one another, to be engaging together through video calls and livestreams and social media and snail mail. I’m not always a big fan of technology and its version of interconnectedness, but today I rejoice for the friends who text me verses and share pictures of the comforting words they’re reading. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to see the faces of the women in my Bible study large group and small groups over Zoom.
The world’s hope feels thin today. It can’t support my weight, let alone my fears. It might not be bad, though it is insufficient. But the good hope of Jesus is strong enough to carry me and you and all He created.