The following is a continuation of a Christianity Today Article written by Syntyche D. Dahou and entitled: “French’s Two Words for Hope Helped Me Endure the Pandemic.”
Hope does not shelter us from the trials and difficulties of life, but it helps us overcome them with serenity and joy. Scripture reminds us of this.
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations” (Rom. 4:18). Who could still hope to conceive a child at the age of 100 with a 90-year-old wife? Abraham did it! Who can still hope for a future without pain and suffering? We can! For a Christian to hope in times of difficulty shows full trust in the One who promised to make all things new: God.
Job, having lost everything and living in an almost indescribable situation, expressed confidently and persistently his true hope when he said, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth” (Job 19:25). The continuation of Job’s story shows how his hope was rewarded (42:10).
Amid the fiercest storms we can imagine (rejection, persecution, etc.), the apostle Paul did not lose his hope either. Whether the situation was favorable or not, he believed and waited with patience and joy for the glorious future reserved for him. It was in the middle of these sufferings that he wrote several letters to Christians in different cities to encourage them to develop and keep their hope in the Lord. Note this excerpt addressed to the Christians of Rome who were also going through difficult times: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).
In our country, like in many others, the moments of quarantine have resulted in more online Christian meetings for prayers and encouragement. When asked what a Christian community that collectively hopes looks like, a sister in Christ told me, “It looks like a strong tower, like an unshakable army!”
Yes, a community filled with hope is a real support for the world in the face of trials and difficulties. It offers resistance in the face of despair and discouragement. It is a light that shines in the darkness.
I rejoice to see, like the apostle Paul, many Christian communities continuing to share the comforting message of hope, despite their various struggles. Throughout this crisis, I am grateful to have read articles from Christians like Jay Y. Kim, Anne Lécu, Kelly B. Trujillo, and many others who have taken up the pen to send their message of hope to the world. The line of witnesses of hope is not extinguished.
We are all facing this global crisis, as well as our personal problems and daily difficulties. We are all affected in one way or another, and some in terribly tragic ways. But our attitude toward it all is decisive.
My prayer is that, whatever darkness we go through, our hope in the Lord Jesus Christ will always remain alive, active, and practical. It may not be easy, but together, “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).
Syntyche D. Dahou is an administrative assistant. She is involved in the Groupe Biblique des Élèves et Etudiants du Bénin (GBEEB), a member movement of IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students). She is passionate about Christian literature and is interested in ministry through Christian publications.
Translation completed by Sarah Buki