I did not anticipate how exciting Tuesday afternoon would be. I admit to being a little weary of not having real, face-to-face engagement. Then Tuesday happened.
I was invited to share a devotional with my colleagues at HCJB Radio, Ecuador via Zoom. Seventeen of my friends were in the call. I had not seen any of them in seven years. Oh, we have chatted online and emailed, but we have never had the visual component of Zoom. I was a little surprised at how deeply seeing - instead of just hearing - my friends impacted me.
I shared a few thoughts about faith and fear. In light of the pandemic, what is the object of our faith? It isn’t in science to find a cure nor politicians to manage social structures. It is in the Creator God who has authority over all things. And we do not live in fear because we are convinced of God’s faithfulness and goodness. I hoped it was encouraging.
And then they shared. Ecuador is struggling. The health care system is stretched. Social services are overwhelmed. They told me ongoing corruption diverts investments given to fight COVID-19. The economy continues to worsen - and it was in trouble before the pandemic. Thousands are unemployed. People are suffering. Isolation is extreme. Death is frequent.
The manager of our radio station in Guayaquil shared her pain as her husband fought against the virus. He eventually recovered, but the doctor who treated him died a few days after attending her husband. There was another story of a long-term program contributor who died. And then another story. And another. I started to feel a little embarrassed at my feeble attempt to remind these friends of God’s faithfulness. They were living it to an extreme I could not imagine.
Words Matter. Hope. These friends are serving God and living in an environment where there is little hope and a lot of discouragement. Hearts are heavy. Yet they have a strong hope. People are listening to the radio more because there is nothing else to do, and because they, too, are looking for hope. The message of hope in God resonates.
I’m still relishing that meeting. It was SO good to see and connect with my friends. My heart now shares in their heaviness . . . and their hope. It is amazing what can be accomplished and endured when there is hope. Not optimism, but a living hope in a caring, good, merciful, and gracious God.
Would you take a moment now to pause and pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who honour and serve God in the midst of this pandemic? Most of them do not enjoy the social support or depth of resource we do. They remain faithful, hopeful. Most of their stories will remain untold. Let’s remember them before God’s throne of grace. Pray they will guard their unity in the Spirit. Pray for strength and courage. Give thanks to God for these, as Hebrews says, “of whom the world was not worthy.”
And let us fill our hearts with hope!