Trading fear for hope

The promise of Jesus is our hope when we feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges. Life offers us many joys, but it offers us problems, too. We may be called to do things that seem beyond our power. Whatever the difficulties might be, Jesus is with us to help us through them. Our trust in his promises helps us to get through our fear and to strengthen our hope.

I, like everyone at this time, have great concern with the Coronavirus. And it is good that we treat the situation with caution and safety. But it does cause me to worry about those people who are going “overboard” with some of their actions.

Hoarding items is sad because it could mean that some people will really need those hoarded items while others may have more than they could possibly use. Will those with the excess be willing to share at that time?

I read that the sale of guns is rising; will violence come out of this situation? Worry is a very human feeling because we cannot control everything. And we should certainly worry about this virus, taking care to use all the precautions recommended.

One of my hopes is that we remember to trust our heavenly Father to provide answers that will give us comfort. That can come from the fruit of prayer, and it may take time. In this day and age of technology, we have so many ways of staying in touch with others. We can also read books, find prayer sources and even, at least, watch a Mass.

Even though we have gotten used to easier, more convenient ways of doing things, this can be a time to stop and appreciate different ways of accomplishing our needs. How interesting that this is happening during Lent – a time that brings to mind suffering. But if we can put God first in our lives, everything else will take its rightful place.

Just as we each must work to maintain good physical health, we can struggle to remain mentally and emotionally healthy – especially through a crisis like we are experiencing. But there is good news for all of us who are suffering: God is with us!

Our faith can energize us to be courageous and bold, loving and unafraid. But I know we cannot find our strength without spending time with God in some type of prayer. In that time of prayer, we will become aware of God’s guiding presence within us. When we experience his presence and surrender ourselves to it, a sense of hope will flow through us and actually transform our lives. This is God’s loving will for us. The more time that we spend in prayer and in seeking a better understanding of what we are suffering through, we can become more joy-filled.

By no means am I without complaints, disappointments or fears; but I hope to find new ways to help others, to show compassion and to grow closer to God. Yes, we are enduring separation pain with some things, but let us pray that those who actually have the virus may recover. Let us also pray for those who have, sadly, lost or will lose their lives. The “power of Christ” dwells within each of us!

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). These five words challenge us in our spiritual lives, especially as we are being asked to give up some of the things that have become a part of everyday life. We may even think that our sins, although forgiven, are being “paid for” by these sacrifices we are now making.

Remember that Jesus prefers mercy to sacrifice. Mercy begins with those things we are doing without now, those activities we are postponing and the freedom we have been used to in traveling. But good things can happen now, too, in many other ways.

The feelings and effects of good actions may elude us right now; but over time, we will quietly grow in generosity and compassion. We can learn that mercy is both a divine pledge and a promise. Alone, we are powerless and weak; with God, we are strong!