Hey, Everybody! My name is Larry Szyman, and I am one of the pastors at Faith Community Church.

At the beginning of the COVID experience, I was shopping and decided to pick up some hand sanitizer, only to find it was out of stock.  My “hope” was that I would get the sanitizer. Often when we use the word hope, it’s because we want something to happen or be true.  

Hope can be much more than a want, but a driving force from which behavior flows.

Consider the young person who hopes to secure their driver’s license—they take driver’s ed; study the material, and take the permit test. They practice with their parents and do all their behind the wheel training. The actual driver’s test is scheduled as close to their sixteenth birthday as possible. The teen makes sure the car used for the test is clean and in working order, has sufficient gas…you get the idea. What is driving all this behavior? The hope of getting a license. We can see here that hope is not merely a desire, it controls thoughts and actions.

We are in the middle of a season where our hope is being attacked. COVID is altering our lives in significant ways. Two months ago we were experiencing a roaring economy and all our hopes seemed secure. Now the colleges are closed and students are moving back with their parents. Jobs are vanishing, the economy heading south, and of course, there are so many legitimate concerns about our health and the health of our loved ones and neighbors.

Recently, one of my neighbors, seeking to encourage those walking by, placed a sign on their screened porch saying “Have hope.” Hope is a vital element for life, especially at a time like this.

A key question to ask today is: “What kind of hope? Hope in what?”

Hope is only as helpful as what we are hoping in. Whether the hope you have is simply wanting something to happen, or if your hope is the kind that drives your behavior, our hope needs to be anchored to something more powerful than the things threatening us. It’s one thing to handle empty shelves where the toilet paper Is supposed to be, but is it possible to have a diploma, debt and no job and still live in active hope? Is there a hope that you can attach yourself to that can withstand being tested positive for COVID-19?  

The Bible’s answer is a resounding "YES!" There is a hope that is bigger than anything life can throw at us. A hope rooted in the love of God. An early church leader named Paul wrote of a "Hope [that] does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5).

In other words, this hope won’t be dashed; this hope will be realized.

For a Christian our INTERNAL reality has a capacity to withstand any downturn in the status of our relationships, finances, or physical health. This isn’t to deny or make light of the realities of COVID-19, but the love of God in our hearts by the Holy Spirit offers something greater, because God’s love has already come to earth and been to hell and back for US through Jesus.

Another early church leader named Peter said that because of God’s great mercy, believers are given a new life and a livinghope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4). This inheritance we have is a hope that can’t be conquered and is being guarded by God Himself.

I recently led a funeral attended by seven participants because of our current crisis. The pain of losing a beloved matriarch was multiplied by the inability of the family to grieve and honor Patti like they wanted. As I committed her body to the ground for burial, I declared the hope of Jesus…earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to the sure and certain hope of her resurrection from the dead at the return of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Through Jesus we have a hope bigger and stronger than death. Hope has a name; His name is Jesus.

We are facing so much challenge and so much anxiety in these days. My hope was to convey to you a hope that has been to the grave and back and will not lead to shame, Jesus Christ.  

Before you move ahead with your day, would you share this video so we can continue to spread the hope of Jesus through these videos? We will see you back here next week for the next edition of FAITH and Life.


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