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Coping by Hoping

I see it. I know I do. A tiny sliver of light at the end of a very long tunnel. If you squint your eyes and look close, I believe you'll see it, too. Alabama's numbers are looking good. Fewer cases of Covid-19, fewer hospitalizations, fewer deaths, fewer people on ventilators, better testing, better treatment options, more masks, more PPEs, more deliberate efforts to cooperate with the authorities. Word on the street is that a week from today we might begin making our way through the prescribed phases to get us back to work, to church and to our GRANDCHILDREN!!

What coping mechanisms have you used to survive the past six weeks? Steve has channeled some energy into working in the yard, and I very much enjoy the results of his labor. He has marked hundreds of items off of his daily lists and gotten a grip on areas that had concerned him. He has learned how to use Zoom and to shorten his weekly Bible study lessons for our Life Group, and he has adapted to new ways to treat animals and interact with clients at the veterinary hospitals where he works.

As for me, I've Facetimed more than ever with my oldest daughter and made two quick trips to see our youngest daughter, staying the proper distance away from her and her eight children. I've listened to my son preach every week, and I've churned out a lot of thoughts through blog posts such as this one. We've taken advantage of several restaurants offering carry-outs, but mostly, I've COOKED. Mercy, have I cooked . . . and baked . . . and sauteed . . . and mixed . . . and kneaded . . . and sampled all of the dishes. Some got a thumbs up. Some were dismal failures, but all involved ingredients, concentration and at least a measure of skill.

I have willed myself away from planning trips, since the future was far too uncertain to put any dates on the calendar. But, I have kept in the back of my head the notion that ONE DAY I'll be back discovering new restaurants, attractions, interesting people, amazing cultures and natural beauty. Even though there have been a couple of days (fortunately, I really can count them on one hand) when I was at a low, discouraged point, I have continued to cling to a sliver of hope that all of the strangeness, fear, dismal news and inactivity of the whole world is temporary. And, now the sliver of hope is turning into a wedge and before long, it will be a whole pie. Uh oh. Still thinking about food.

There have been periods of time in history, of course, when the situation was much more dire with Christian people targeted and under intense persecution. I remember visiting the Colosseum in Rome back in 2013. How in the world were those early Christians able to endure? They were being fed to ferocious lions while thousands of cheering people watched. They lived with the reality that coming out of their homes, professing their faith and worshipping with fellow believers meant certain death. Why didn't they just denounce their faith and do whatever they had to in order to survive? THEY HAD HOPE, a supernatural, fervent, unwavering hope and belief that Jesus was real, that He died on the cross for the sins of the world, that He rose from the grave on the third day, and that He WILL come again and have the final victory.

Their coping mechanism was clinging to their faith and keeping their eyes on Jesus. The object of their HOPE was certain.

Our current trial is temporary. For the majority of us, the consequences of these weeks of quarantine have been meager in comparison to those faced by our spiritual forefathers. We DO see that an end is in sight. But, even more, we see that the ultimate END -- when Jesus returns -- means victory with Jesus as the King of King and Lord of Lords. It has helped me to remember that and maybe it will be an encouragement to you, as well.

Romans 15:13 - "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Romans 8:18 - "The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

1 Peter 1:3-4 - "He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

Romans 12:12 - "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

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