By Pastor Michael H. Koplitz, D.Min., Ph.D.
Mark 4:21-22 “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.
Today’s society wants you to believe that hope is dead. The parable in Mark says, if a lamp is put under a bed or a basket, its light will be blocked. Light is a metaphor for hope in this parable, but unfortunately society has covered up the lamp of hope and the world wants us to believe that we are living in hopeless times. The social media and news broadcasts, which people seem to live by, tell us that darker and darker days are ahead because of the Covid-19 virus. When we believe that hope is gone, we allow ourselves to be controlled by the world. Hope is being driven out of many people, and fear has replaced hope. It is easy to control and oppress people when hope is gone.
In Jesus’ day, the Roman government and army were able to crush hope from the Hebrew people. The leaders of the Temple and the government leaders in Jerusalem were spreading the belief that hope was gone. The threat posed by the Roman army provoked fear, and those who lived in fear lost their hope. Their hope used to be in the LORD, who was always there to save a remnant. The LORD had promised His people that no matter what happened on Earth, they would survive. But even though people claimed to believe God’s Word, their hope in the LORD was being extinguished by their fear of the Romans.
Jesus’ message to the Hebrew people urged a return of hope in the LORD. After all, the world is not a fair place and it certainly was not under the Roman occupation. However, there is a better way to live than to be fearful and worried. Restoring hope in God through faith in the Lord Jesus can make this world a paradise. It is hope that will drive out fear. It is hope that shines upon us to show us that another, definitely better way to live is the LORD’s plan for us. Jesus told the people that the LORD was still with them. If people return to hope in the LORD, things will get better.
The occupying army of oppression today is fear that the social media and news broadcasts have created about Covid-19. It has become an army of oppression. Is Covid-19 something to be feared? No. It is something that should be respected. You do not want to contract this disease because many souls have been lost to the pandemic. Therefore, we must take the necessary precautions to avoid it, but that does not mean we should give up hope for a resolution of the disease. When fear replaces hope, a person can be easily controlled. We must not allow society to place fear in our hearts because we will then submit to whatever our oppressor wants.
Unfortunately, fear is often replacing hope today because we are being told that darker days are ahead. On the contrary, I say that brighter days are ahead! I am staying positive, and can see that the LORD is working on a solution and eradication of the pandemic.
How, then, do we ask for help from the LORD? First, we must acknowledge that Covid-19 is a human-made problem. The exact manner of its creation is debatable, but our society and usage of the planet brings these viruses to life. Also, we must acknowledge that the LORD has given us free will and free choice. Okay. Now the question becomes, “Why has the LORD not removed Covid-19?” I suggest a simple answer. The LORD is Spirit, and we are flesh. Richard Foster’s book entitled, “Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home”, suggests that the LORD does not answer materialistically based prayers. Why? Because the LORD is not physical. He is Spirit.
So, why pray for the eradication of Covid-19? The Sages of Israel told us that we should pray for the LORD’s powers to help us in a way that will show us the “mercy” of the LORD. I have been praying for the LORD’s wisdom to be sent to the doctors, nurses, and caregivers to help Covid-19 patients. I have been praying for the LORD’s wisdom to come upon the doctors and researchers who are working to create a vaccine that will eliminate Covid-19. That prayer is being answered, and the vaccine is being distributed around the world.
I propose that a good prayer now is to help us seek patience from the LORD so the vaccine can be distributed to 6 billion people, which will take some time. But we must remember, the mercy of the LORD is upon us.
IT IS A TIME FOR HOPE! The dark days are over. Society wants you to believe those dark days are still ahead, but they are not. If hope has been driven from you, then you must pray for the LORD to restore your hope. The Holy Spirit of the LORD is with us and will bring hope, mercy, and patience to all the people of the world if we pray for it. The future is bright for people who have their hope restored in the LORD and, of course, for the people who never gave up their hope.
Therefore, respect Covid-19 and follow the guidelines that the doctors and researchers have told us. The LORD has given them the spiritual attribute of insight. Get the vaccine because it is a gift from the LORD through the wisdom and knowledge that He has given to us. It is time to listen to the Gospels. Jesus brought hope to the people of Galilee and Judea 2000 years ago. He explained to the people of His day that the light of hope was never to be hidden from people. Jesus’ words are as vital today as they were in His day.
HOPE IS NOT DEAD. Hope is alive in all people who believe in the LORD. Pray for hope if you have lost it. Pray for patience if you need it. Pray for mercy and health if you contract Covid-19. Pray for the awareness to avoid the disease. No matter what society says, remember that the LORD is always with us and the LORD hears our prayers. Pray for all of the LORD’s love to come upon you and the entire world.
May the LORD bless you in your learning and studying of His Word.
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Pastor Michael H. Koplitz, D.Min., Ph.D. is an ordained minister, author, teacher, and webmaster at BibleInteract. He currently lives in York Pennsylvania with his wife, Sandy, where he has been a pastor at the United Methodist Church for over 18 years.
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