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Where's the Hope?

COVID-19 infections are rising at alarming rates.  That’s the bad news coming in from a number of States that had previously been largely unaffected by the pandemic.  As this crisis drags on with no letup in sight, it feels like this might really be our new normal.  So, as someone recently asked: Where’s the hope?

On a natural level, I could tell you that hope can be found by putting this crisis into perspective—we have every reason to think we will get beyond this, probably sooner than we expect.  I could talk about all our resilience as Americans in the face of past crises. 

For example, remember Y2K?  It was supposed to be apocalyptic.  The experts were predicting that the power grid was going to collapse, that there’d be blackouts, food shortages, and all kinds of unforseeable horrors.  The experts were also predicting that our new normal was going to be like the Mad Max movies.  But on January 1, 2000—Y2K—none of that came to pass.  By the end of that January, most of us didn’t give all the doom and gloom leading up to it a second thought.

Or, more poignantly, remember what it was like in the immediate aftermath of 9-11.  It’s easy to forget how terrified and despairing we all were.  Even as we were trying to grieve the unfathomable loss of life; even as we were trying to absorb the shock to our national sense of invincibility in our homeland; even as we were trying to pick up the pieces and process the most surreal tragedy any of us had ever experienced, the experts were sure we were going to get hit soon again, only much worse—a biological, chemical, or “dirty” nuclear bomb attack.  With every Anthrax scare, our fear and despair went through the roof. 

None of those predictions ever materialized, thank God.  And yet, in many ways, 9-11 was a far greater existential threat to us than COVID-19 is—so was the Great Depression and WWII and a number of other historical crises we’ve survived through, for that matter.

So, on a natural level, I could say that we have good reason to hope.  I could say that all the direst  predictions the experts are making are not likely to materialize.  While dealing with COVID has been an agonizing experience that will leave many scars, I could point out that, just as with Y2K or 9-11 or WWII or the Great Depression or a host of other crises we’ve faced, we will—as the road side signs I see people leaving all over the place say—overcome.  This too will pass.  COVID will take a hike.  

We’ve made it through so much worse.

But real hope isn’t found in our resilience as Americans, or the perspective of past history.  Though we will probably get through this just as we’ve gotten through all the other crises we’ve faced before, no one can say for sure.  This may be the new normal.  Masks and social distancing and travel restrictions and catastrophic death tolls and economic calamity may be our future.  In the end, all those encouraging road signs are little more than wishful thinking.

Because I’m so convinced by the evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, I spend most of my time—including in these blogs—presenting this evidence, showing why we can trust Jesus’ Resurrection actually happened.  I usually don’t talk about the meaning of the Resurrection—what it means for us.  But this is exactly where true hope is found. 

Obviously, the most important thing for us about Jesus’ Resurrection is that it means He has conquered death; death has no more power over anyone who entrusts their life to Him.  If you examine all other claims about life beyond the grave—from other religions and belief systems to Near Death Experiences and other paranormal experiences—you’ll find, as I have, that only with Jesus is there is substantial, and even overwhelming, evidence that He actually came back from the dead and in a way that transcended death, passing beyond it so that He will never die again.  His Resurrection is the only solid proof we have for eternal life.  His Resurrection is the only solid hope we have, period.

But it’s not just that Jesus rose from the dead and showed us we can too.  It’s even better than that! 

The most stunning thing about the Resurrection is what it follows—the Cross.  If Jesus lived to a ripe old age, dying peacefully of natural causes, and then rose from the dead, it would still be the best news ever.  But not nearly as meaningful.  The fact that the One who rose first suffered an excruciating death for us, tells us the most important thing we could ever want to know: God really loves us, even to the point that He suffers in the most agonizing way for us. 

We may not be able to understand why He allowed this pandemic, or any suffering for that matter.  But the fact that the One who conquers death conquers the Cross leaves no doubt about His love for us or His power over all things.

It’s not like this pandemic means He’s lost control of the universe. 

And, it’s not like this pandemic means He’s abandoned us. 

No, in the ultimate way, the Resurrection assures us not only that He is Lord of all and we can have eternal life in Him, but that the God of the Universe couldn’t love us more.  Resurrection hope, the only solid hope, assures us that He is always with us.  He will never let go of us.  And, in the end, life on high with Him is the only new normal that matters!

There’s the hope.

Where do you find hope in this crisis?  Or do you find all of it hopeless?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  You can go to the “Contact E.J.” page of the Raising Jesus website and leave your comments there.  May the power of Christ’s Resurrection fill your life and give you real hope!

 

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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