As a global population, we’re facing a very real and frightening crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a collective crisis, but individual experiences vary greatly. Some are able to safely self-isolate, staying home, while for others, staying home is not an option, or home is not a secure place to be. Many are working hard everyday, risking themselves on behalf of others. Anxiety, fear and depression appear to rule the day. News reports may send us spiraling, feeling angry, as if nothing can be done.
People everywhere are searching for hope. Hope is a powerful human need, a reason to believe tomorrow will be better. Where do you find your hope? Where are you finding hope in the face of the pandemic?
When Hope is Hard to Find
In times of trouble, we can always find good company in the Bible. Faithful friends who can say, “Oh yeah, if you think that’s bad, I got thrown into a burning furnace!” Yeah, thanks a lot Shadrach.
In my own search for hope, I was drawn to a passage in Ezekiel 1 where the prophet Ezekiel receives a startling vision from God. I will give you some context. The Israelites have been taken from their homes into a foreign land, leaving behind everything they had known, including their cherished place of worship. Ezekiel is among the captives in the first Babylonian exile. He’s next to the Kebar River in Babylonian territory when God gives him a glimpse of His glory.
As Ezekiel struggles to comprehend and put into words what he’s seeing, he pieces together a vision of living creatures that, to our modern imaginations, begins to sound like they were created by a movie studio.
From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human, except that each had four faces and four wings.Ezekiel 1:5-6 NLT
As I looked at these beings, I saw four wheels touching the ground beside them, one wheel belonging to each.…The rims of the four wheels were tall and frightening, and they were covered with eyes all around.Ezekiel 1:15,18 NLT
And then, above the living creatures, Ezekiel sees God’s throne:
All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.Ezekiel 1:28 NLT
The Israelites may have been wondering where God was and what He was up to in the midst of their suffering, and many had already renounced him altogether. Yet, here comes God, crashing into Ezekiel’s view with an incredible picture of hope.
Finding Hope in Ezekiel’s Vision
Now, you may be wondering, what is hopeful about a 4-headed beast with wings, wheels and eyes? I think there are three main things we can take away from this seemingly strange vision that reveals something about God’s character.
- God is with us
For the people of Israel, the temple in Jerusalem was the center of their faith, the place where they gathered for community, to meet with God, find forgiveness. When they were torn away from everything that made them feel safe and comfortable, God still showed up. He was not confined to their place of worship or their way of thinking. In this time, we may have had to find new ways of connecting with our families, conducting church services, and serving our communities, but God is still alive and working in and through us.
- God sees us
Eyes! The wheels had eyes. We could speculate about the literal meaning of this detail, but maybe Ezekiel wanted God’s people to know that He sees them. In the same way, God is intimately acquainted with our ways and what we’re going through right now. You are seen and known even in isolation.
- God is moving
The wheels in Ezekiel’s vision could move in any direction. God was ready to go anywhere. Just because things looked different, it didn’t mean that God wasn’t working. As we move forward into an unknown future, we can be encouraged that God is on the move.
Finding Hope in Unexpected Places
If Ezekiel could encounter God in enemy territory, while facing an uncertain future and terrible trials, then we might be able to find hope in some unexpected ways as we face down the Coronavirus pandemic. Hope could show up in strange places:
- A kind word from a friend.
- Cultivating a new talent.
- Rediscovering old hobbies.
- A walk outside.
- Eating a favorite meal.
- Sharing what you have.
- Talking about how you’re feeling.
- Thinking outside the box about church.
- Giving yourself and others grace when you’re not okay.
When our world is turned upside down, if we’ve lost our security and hope is hard to find, we can look to God, who is trustworthy and a sure place for our hope. In the comments, share about ways you’ve found hope or seen God working in the Pandemic. Who do you know that needs this hope today?
To help you spread hope throughout your community and social network, we’ve created 9 FREE social-ready images that feature Bible verses about overcoming fear. We’d love for you to share this message of hope with your followers.