The Power of Hope
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Fear, anxiety, worry! These are the emotions that can fill up the soul in these present times as the whole world battles an enemy that seems to be taking people by storm. The virus known as the Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a very highly contagious disease that is causing and crippling not just one nation, but the whole world. But how does one approach this type of situation without being overwhelmed with fear?
“Once you choose hope, anything is possible."
There are many different ways to approach this question on tackling fear and anxiety. One of them is to seek counseling for reduction of symptoms. Another way is to talk to a friend or loved one about the situation for comfort and advice and the third is to look to God for help. Which one do you think could be the right answer? Is it the first, second, third? All of them or none of them? Well, the first method I mentioned works temporarily, as I have seen many of my clients become less crippled by using either Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Solution Focused Therapy therapy models in the field of mental health. The second method does work, especailly when surrounding oneself with those you love, but people can dissapoint us at times. The third method is eternal and lasts a lifetime. God never dissapoints us and is always there when we need help. It wasn't until four years ago that I witnessed true and lasting healing. The first step in witnessing healing was when I had a conversion and a wake up call from the Holy Spirit (you can read more about this in my book called, It's all about Love). The second part of this witness was when I went to Philadelphia for Unbound Ministry training. Little did I know what God had planned for me that weekend. In order to be trained in Unbound prayer, you have to recieve Unbound prayer. Once I did, I realized that the two years I was in therapy could not compare to how I was healed in one session of Unbound prayer. That is the power of Jesus Christ. He is the source of all Hope. Remember, He conquered death and rose from the dead. Who else can do that? He cured many people while on earth, and continues to still heal today. If He did that, then He can help with getting rid of fear, anxiety and even conquering this deadly virus.
The most common phrase in the whole Bible (both in the Old and new Testament) is to
"fear not, have no fear and Do not be afraid." It is mentioned 365 times all together in scripture (that's every day of the year). In Luke chapter 1:30, we hear the angel Gabriel who approached Mary and mentioned she would be concieving a child. Gabriel said "do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God." Another time is in Matthew 10:28 where it says "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell." It all sounds well and good, but you may be asking yourself, how does reading these bible verses get rid of fear and anxiety? Good question. The Bible is God's word - it is truly Him that is speaking to you in scripture. It was written by the Holy Spirit, not by man. However, inviting Jesus to be part of your life is key. What I mean by this is, if you are not living in rightousness and continue to live in mortal sin, then you do not have God's Spirit living in you. Think of it this way - would you still get a pay check just by sitting around at your job, doing nothing? Probably not. The spiritual life is the same. It takes work and perserverence.
There is a prayer that you can say to invite Jesus into your heart. It is very simple and goes like this: Jesus, I am sorry for all my sins and my past behaviors, I now want to live a good life and I invite you into my heart. Another way that most Catholics invite Jesus into their heart, if they are not able to recieve Him in Communion, is to make a spiritual communion prayer. It goes like this: My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire to recieve you into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment recieve you Sacramentally into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be seperated from You. The most intimate way to have God's spirit alive in you, is through the Sacraments of the Catholic Church (Holy Communion, Reconciliation are among 2 of 7). These were instituted by Jesus Himself.
Has it ever crossed your mind, that these circumstances are happening during the season of Lent? If you are not familiar with Lent, it is the season in the Catholic Church and also many Protestant churches where people evaluate their relationship with God. It is a time of repentance and removing distractions from life, in order to bring people back to joy, love, and peace, which is God.
What distractions in your life have been taken away? Right now, there is no basketball, no March madness, no nascar, no going to the movies, no going out to eat, no casino and pretty much nothing to do. So, what are you going to do with your time? What about opening the Bible that has been collecting dust on your shelf? How about spending time with God in prayer? Have you thought about asking Him questions as to why this is happening to me, to my loved ones? How about questions such as, "why am I here," what is the purpose to my life?" He will speak to you and you can hear an answer, once you open your heart to Him. So, why not now? When we put God first in our lives, everything falls in place and peace and joy can come back in our hearts. When we put other things first, such as sports, money, greed, power to name just a few, it creates heartache, pain and suffering. These become gods which robs the soul of joy and happiness.
One thing to keep in mind during this time of trial, suffering and uncertainty is that God did not cause this to happen. He is not to blame. C.S. Lewis once said, God shouts in our sufferings. Instead of becoming a victim and saying "poor me", become a Victor. Suffereing can bring many people to God and it can lead you from the superficial to the supernatural. God is love and He is good all the time. His true essence is goodness. Many theologians can testify to this including St. Thomas Aquinas and Anthanasius of Alexandria. A being that is love itself and true goodness can never cause pain, and never cause suffereing. It is not in His nature to do that. Suffering comes from the evil one, known as satan. Since sin entered the world with Adam and Eve, this world has known suffering. Sometimes, we cause our own suffereing by the choices we make in life. Sin does not just affect the person alone, but everyone. The topic of sin deserves another blog at another time.
God gave us free will to choose either of things that are good or things that are bad. It's up to you if you want to choose Hope or not, but know tha the power of Hope is eternal and lasts a lifetime. Jesus said in the gospel of John 8:12 "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life." So, what are you going to choose today? Hope or despair? Remember there is power in Hope, and His name is Jesus!
About the Author: Donna L. Marotto is a Faith Formation Director and Youth Minister at Our Lady of Mercy Church in CT. She also holds a license in Marriage and Family Therapy and is a Lay (3rd order) Franciscan. You can email her at email@example.com