Blog from Kristy Engel . . .

Hope

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (John 16:33, MSG)

I shared this verse with doctors and dentists at the House of Hope Christmas dinner in Cochabamba, Bolivia, a few days ago. When I was asked to lead a devotional, I wasn’t sure what I should say to them, knowing they had all been witnesses to the extreme suffering brought on by the pandemic. I knew that everyone in the room had lost family members and friends. I even knew that one woman had lost her newborn child because of Covid19. Bringing a message to this unique group of people couldn’t be done without recognizing their pain.

Yet, I also knew that as many continue to look to them as leaders in their community, they, too, needed to be able to find hope and look to God for their endurance. I began the message by sharing my work with India during the pandemic. I shared a few stories of how leaders (both pastors and health care workers) had struggled over this last year. I watched heads nodding as they recognized a shared burden. Then I was able to share an inspiring message that a colleague of mine had recently written. It said (in part):

“As we enter the season against the backdrop of the Covid19 pandemic, we may have similar sentiments and feelings of disconnectedness, inappropriateness, confusion, frustration, disappointment and a variety of negative emotions. We all endure hard times; it’s a fact. And we’ll all witness suffering by those we care about. Christ himself told us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV) He is our greatest comfort during times of struggle, and He equips us to help others in their sorrow as well.”

That’s the message so many of us need to hear, isn’t it?

Yes, there will be struggles.

Yes, there will be pain.

Yes, we will feel overwhelmed.

And, despite the chaos around us, God is in control. God’s peace does NOT depend on our situation or what is happening around us. We have hope for something more because God stands with us, carries us, guides us, and instills in us a peace that cannot be removed. We, ourselves do not have to “fix” everything, rather we need to trust that God has already overcome.

So, at the beginning of a new year, take a moment to acknowledge the losses, the hurts, and the pain. Then, remember that this is not the end of the story. As we wait expectantly for Christ’s return, we can rest in the hope that His return brings and receive and share God’s peace with those who are placed in our lives.