Romans 4:18a says "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations” (NIV). When I think about Abraham, I like to think that he, too, found it hard to believe in the promises God made to him when they took time to be fulfilled. That he tried to rationalise how they would work, how it would change his life, and plan for them.
At least it's what I do. I have no problem believing in promises for others—it’s mine that I have trouble with.
And then I think about this passage, because hope is not something we can rationalise; it's a feeling that exists outside of logic, and it's a fuel for faith.
This time of pandemic took a toll on everybody. Brazil was already in a political crisis when COVID-19 first came, and it developed and expanded to other areas, health and economy taking the greatest losses. It's hard to keep hoping it will get better soon, even harder to keep joy in our heart. That's when reading the Bible changes our perspective.
Habakkuk 3:17,19a says "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength.”
When one of the teenage girls in our Bible study group asked "What do we do when there's nothing to be happy about?" I said, that's when we get to be grateful for being alive, clothed and fed.
The example I kept in mind whenever I felt a bit too hopeless was my local church.
We already distributed a basic needs box (nonperishable food, some hygiene and cleaning supplies) to a few families that live around the church, and coming into the pandemic, the amount of people in need grew. For a moment it seemed we wouldn't be able to attend the families in need, however, as soon as the pastor opened that issue to the members the donations also grew, and not only for the basic needs, but also to add comfort foods to the boxes like milk and cookies.
God has promises for us, just like for Abraham in the past, so I urge you to hope against hope as these difficult times move along. It is starting to get better, and we'll live through it, and learn with it, hopefully we'll be better after it as well.