Our world and its population have been living in the shadow of Covid-19 for some time now, and I’m sure that you have experienced first hand just how much life has changed.
The purpose of this post is to consider how we might be able to cope with living a life that’s so different to how things were, (in the UK at least) one month ago; and crucially, how to find hope in the midst of trouble.
You have probably noticed images of the rainbow appearing in people’s windows since we’ve been in lock-down. This is something that started in Italy, a country which continues to suffer appallingly at the hands of this virus.
We can read of this symbol in Genesis 9, and understand what makes it a symbol of hope.
For Christians, the rainbow has come to be a sign of God’s faithfulness, that we can trust Him to keep His promises. Let’s look at the rainbow a bit more in its Biblical context.
In Genesis chapters 6 – 9, we read about a man called Noah and his family, who found their lives turned upside down, and were required to live a very different kind of life. Under God’s instruction, Noah built a huge vessel, to go on water and house a small band of humans, and a vast array of animals. They would live on board for over a year (Genesis 7:24, 8:3-12).
A family in lockdown
40 days and nights of rain, followed by months of isolation, waiting for the water to regress. Noah and his family were confined. They didn’t have a window, balcony or garden, and there was certainly no internet, no devices, no Netflix, YouTube or Facebook.
Imagine how they spent their time – floating on possibly stormy and certainly uncertain waters. They could probably hear the relentless rain. They were occupied in their care of the animals on board with them, and each other.
This time – where life was lived out in a very small space – must have put this family under great strain; spending all that time under the one roof, not being able to enjoy the independence they once did, not to mention anxiety at their entire way of life and nearly everything they had known being altered so drastically.
Where does my hope come from?
I find reading the Psalms to be really comforting when I’m going through tough times:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”Psalm 46:1-3
Finding peace in the storm
Comfort in troubles comes when we focus on Jesus. His disciples came to learn this through the time they spent with him. In the gospel of Mark, we read of Jesus and his disciples setting out on the sea of Galilee, and facing a literal storm which had experienced fishermen fearing for their lives:
“A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?””Mark 4:37-38
Jesus demonstrated awesome power in halting this life-threatening storm. He challenged his disciples to have faith, not to be afraid and not to doubt. This was hard for them and is no different for us, seeing beyond a storm to the other side of it isn’t something that comes naturally to us.
We are endeavouring to cope in the middle of the storm we find ourselves in. We don’t know how long we’ll have to wait for the trials to pass, but we can cling onto Jesus, who has made it possible for us to live in a very different kind of world.
In Him, we can find peace right now, in the midst of trouble.
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Ultimately, there is eternal hope which we can grasp hold of – a kingdom of peace, justice and righteousness – this is what we look forward to in the long run.
It a great unknown as to when this will be established, but once Jesus returns to our troubled world, we will understand better how our hope rests in Jesus.
We can read of it in many places within the Bible, and this is one of my favourites:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more…And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.””Revelation 21:1,3-4