Exploring Hope: In the wake of corona

My monthly article in Chadds Ford Life is all about exploring hope: this is important in our time as we consider the spread of COVID-19 and economic uncertainty. How should we respond to this international crisis?

First, we should be smart and proactive, but we don't need to be afraid: God is in control. He loves the world. He gave his Son to redeem the world, and we have real hope to offer the world when things seem dark. This is really what Christianity is about, seeing that hope isn't rooted in ourselves or the world economy; it is rooted in the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for us! He gives us the strength to respond differently from the world, not in fear and panic, but in faith, hope, and love for the glory of God. The Bible says:

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:37-39 ESV).

Second, if you're feeling lonely, anxious, or concerned about anything (big or small), here are some suggestions:

  • For practical needs: We may be tempted to neglect our neighbors and only care about ourselves. However, I would encourage everyone to reach out to those around them, even as we practice wise "social distancing." For example, call or email your immediate neighbors. Do they have enough cleaning supplies? Do they have enough toilet paper? Do they have enough food? And instead of only hoarding for ourselves, we should have the attitude of giving away what is not absolutely necessary to those with greater need. To this end, if you find yourself without basic necessities or out of work, please email me at pastorwill@explorehopechurch.org. I can't guarantee that our church will be able to help, but I know we will pool our resources to care for those in our community as much as possible.
  • For emotional and spiritual needsThe problem with a pandemic is that it "requires social distancing." But a close social connection is important for mental and spiritual health. Therefore, what should you do when you feel anxious and alone? Well, the Bible says,

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV).

Do you see what the Apostle Paul is saying? Don't be anxious; instead, pray. Be praying for our community and our world. But also, we can share prayer needs without risking our health. Please feel free to email requests to my church at prayer@explorehopechurch.org. We promise to pray for you daily.


About Will Stern

Originally from Colorado, Will Stern is the pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church in Garnet Valley. He majored in violin performance for his undergrad and taught violin for a number of years before being called into ministry. He studied theology at Duke University and Westminster Theological Seminary.



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