I am writing this during the Coronavirus crisis. The uncertainty of this pandemic is causing many to have major fears about their health, their finances, and their future. As we determine to live victoriously in these challenging times, here are five questions we can ask ourselves to build up the hero within so we can be a strength to many.
- WHAT DO I NEED TO BELIEVE TO HAVE HOPE? Believing truth always leads to hope, while believing lies creates a lack of hope. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:31-32). Truth first makes us free in our emotions and then in our experience.
- WHAT IS GOD DOING IN ME? We ultimately don’t have influence because we have a message but because we have a life of fruitful impact. “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12). We have authority (a crown of life) in any area we are overcoming. What is happening in us is more important than what is happening through us, because what is happening in us now will determine our future ceiling of influence. Our response to something is almost always more important than the something. When we can verbalize what God is doing in us (i.e. “I am learning to overcome fear”), we gain purpose for our season. Remember, vision for the future gives purpose and power for the present.
- HOW CAN I MOVE FORWARD NOW? Nehemiah said this to his enemies when they wanted him to meet with them in the valley of Ono. “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3). Nehemiah is our example of not “going down” into the valley of fear, worry, offense, impulse decision making, or depression. He kept moving forward in his great work. It is similar to when the children of Israel were at the edge of the Red Sea with the Egyptians chasing them. “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward” (Exodus 14:15). When they moved forward, they saw breakthrough as the Red Sea parted and their enemies were destroyed. This is not a time to be neutralized into passivity. It is a time to move forward in key aspects of our lives, whether that forward movement is writing the book, creating greater life structure, reconnecting with family, or something else.
- WHO CAN I HELP? “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11). Healthy people have their eyes looking upward to God and outward to people. When a crisis hits, walls between people are broken down. It is a powerful time to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Each of us has the ability to give something to others. Even if we don’t have money to give, we can give encouragement, volunteer time, and think creatively to reach out in other ways.
- HOW IS MY CONNECTION TO JESUS? This is the most important question. A national or worldwide crisis shakes things to the core. It makes us evaluate what is really important. It causes us to think eternally, not just temporarily. We are forced like the three Hebrew youth to commit to God, even if it costs us. “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up’” (Daniel 3:16-18). They had faith in God’s deliverance, but they basically said, “No matter what happens, we are not compromising.” Challenging times provide us with an ideal opportunity to become a follower of Jesus or to deepen our relationship with Him.
Hope is the belief that the future will be better than the past, and I have the power to help make it so. In the midst of uncertainty, we still have the power to help make it so. We at Igniting Hope stand with you and believe that this season will be one of great peace, growth, breakthrough, and connection to Jesus and to others.
For a more expanded version of this message, please listen to my podcast at the link below.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.