Spiritual Outlook

Johnson A. Beaven III 

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping — believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”… Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. Romans 4:18, 20 (NLT)

Whenever someone asks my mother “How are you doing?” her response is always “I’m hanging like a champ.” For most of us, to say that someone is hanging generally carries a negative connotation; a picture of someone who is barley in there, or just making it.

When someone is hanging on to something, one aspect of their survival is determined not merely to what they’re holding on to, but more so by the strength of what they’re holding on to. My mother doesn’t merely say, “I’m hanging.” She puts a qualifier or a descriptive of how she’s hanging, “like a champ.” There is something that enables her to hang like a champ regardless of the circumstance.

When we’re holding on to or trying to make it off our own strength, often we don’t make it. For the reality is that sometimes we get weak and falter (Isaiah 40:30). That’s why we have to solely rely on God’s strength, which never fails or gives way (Isaiah 40:28, 29).

When holding on to something that is abundant with strength, we can hang in there and keep going. We’re able to hang in there when we hold onto who is there — God. In times like now, grappling with coronavirus, we have no choice but to hold on to God. When we hold on to God, we’re given a hope that enables us to hold on.

Someone has said we can live 40 days without food, 80 days without water, four minutes without air, but only a few seconds without hope.

In the moment of Abraham’s life mentioned in Romans 4:17-21, he did something that kept him going in spite of what it looked like, in spite of his condition juxtaposed against what God had said. God said Abraham would become the father of many nations, but when he was about 100 years old, the son promised for this to happen had not been born. Yet against hope, Abraham believed in hope.

When things look hopeless, be like Abraham and hold on to hope. When there is no reason for hope, keep hoping. Here’s why. God’s promise and presence always overrules all despair and sense of hopelessness. Some may feel that coronavirus has put us in a hopeless situation right now. Don’t lose hope; rather, hope in God. Because in God, who is the God of hope (Romans 15:3), there is never hopelessness.

This hope that Abraham had was a hope that trusts in God in spite of circumstance, a hope that waits for God to accomplish his will in his way.

Here’s the deal about hope. We always hear “you have to have faith.” But the reality is, you can’t have faith unless you first have hope. At its core, hope is the ground for the expression of faith; it provides room for faith to breathe (Hebrews 11:1). Hope is the oxygen that allows faith to operate. The reason Abraham was strong in faith was because he had hope in the God of heaven.

You have to be careful in choosing what to hang on to. Because whatever you hang on to will determine whether you’ll hang at all. As the coronavirus spreads, don’t hang on to anything that feeds and spreads fear, but hang onto what feeds and spreads faith. One of those things is hope.

The coronavirus has brought a catastrophic change in our lives. But the way to hang on in there, the way to hang tough, the way to hang like a champ in this troubling time of COVID-19 is to hope in God, holding tight with a good grip to his unchanging hand.

Rev. Johnson A. Beaven III is pastor of Citadel of Faith Church of God in Christ. Contact him via email at jabeaven@gmail.com or Twitter @jbeaven. For more information, visit www.CitadelCOGIC.com.

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