Hope when there is suffering all around

We are praying for God’s peace and wisdom for all as we endure a challenging season. This is a moment for hopeful realism, faithfulness under pressure, sober thinking, and eternal hope. I encourage us all to read Psalm 46 and Hebrews 12 — in these “shaking” moments, God is working, refining our character and allowing the Church to be a beacon of spiritual power and sanity.

Friends, today we have an opportunity to share faith, hope, and love in a world paralyzed by fear. Yes, we need to follow sound guidelines and navigate health concerns with wisdom. But we have many channels open — from personal conversations to virtual communication. Above all, we can affirm and demonstrate hope and share Christ with all around us. We are not immune to suffering; however, we serve a Lord who suffered and triumphed over all sin and sickness, sorrow and sadness, and in his resurrection, Jesus offers a preview of the glorious future awaiting all who place their trust in him (Heb 2-5; 11-13).

Here are three ways to remember these truths.

Stay faithful to the local church at this moment

We do this by attending the online services, generously giving, and being available to help those in need. Our pastors and communities need us more than ever. Prayers, words of encouragement, generosity, meeting practical needs — all are within our reach as we ask God for strength and wisdom by the Holy Spirit.

Stay faithful in prayer and support of efforts and organizations 

We are important partners in God’s work in the world that extends across our streets and around the world. The women and men we support in these endeavors are often reaching the populations most in need of help. Our faithful contribution during this time is an act of trust in God’s provision and support that will go beyond the dollars we give.

Remember spiritual warfare is real

As we grow in character, experience new depths of community, and work for the common good, it is important we remember that we have an adversary, who, unlike Jesus, seeks to deceive, dehumanize, destroy, discourage, and distort present circumstances. Our best posture is humble confidence in our advocate, Jesus Christ. We combat our enemy with love and truth: exchanging deception for integrity, dehumanization for affirming God’s image in all, destruction with creativity, combatting discouragement with hope, and confronting distortion with pure hearts and skillful hands, bringing beauty to brokenness.

Yes, we hope this moment will pass. While we are immersed in it, God is purifying and refining, ready to pour out new expressions of love and truth. May we walk in courage, remembering biblical virtue that rejects both fear and foolishness. As we are faithful, God’s glory is on display through his church (Eph 3:10), his beautiful and sometimes broken bride.

Topics: Christian Life, Current Events, God's Redemptive Plan, Pastoral Care, Suffering

About the Author

Charlie Self serves as director of learning communities at Made to Flourish. Charlie is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He has served as an associate and senior pastor in several congregations in California, Oregon and Washington, D.C., and has served as an interim pastor six times. He currently also serves as professor of church history at The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri, where he teaches courses in apologetics, church history, mission history, leadership development, and discipleship. He is also co-developer of discipleship dynamics, a new research-based tool for churches and individuals to assess the effectiveness of their discipleship programs. Charlie is the author of three books: The Divine Dance, The Power of Faithful Focus (with co-author Les Hewitt) and his most recent work with The Acton Institute, Flourishing Churches and Communities: A Pentecostal Primer on Faith, Work and Economics for Spirit-Empowered Discipleship. He has an M.A. in history on the church and social change in Latin America (1992) and Ph.D. in modern european history, with foci on Belgian Protestantism and studies in virtue ethics and the holocaust (1995), from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He also has an M.A. in philosophical and systematic theology from The Graduate Theological Union and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California. Charlie is married to Kathleen, a professional artist, and they have been married and on mission for 36 years. They have three adult children.