by Simoné Cloete
Because I have known despair, I value hope.
Because I have tasted frustration, I value fulfilment.
Because I have been lonely, I value love.
– Leonard Nimoy
The past year has been filled with unexpected obstacles and trials which no one could ever have imagined in their wildest dreams (or nightmares). As the months passed with one lockdown after another, we have all experienced despair, frustration, and loneliness. Whenever I read news articles or examined yet another graph of rising infections and mortality rates my throat felt tight with anxiety. And I am certain that most have felt that way too. When I came across the simple quote by Leonard Nimoy, I was truly taken by it and thought about how feeling one emotion, makes us appreciate its antithesis with renewed interest and enthusiasm.
With people dying, being sick, losing livelihoods it was hard not to feel despair. It is such a normal human reaction. But even though we experience despair, we as believers still have hope. We have hope for a better future. We have hope that God will provide for us. We have hope of an eternity in heaven.
‘And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.’ – Romans 5:5
Every week seemed to bring new challenges with the rules and regulations constantly changing. This has been so frustrating because it has been impossible to plan from one day to the next. But through it all, things did turn out right and then we felt the fulfilment that only the Holy Spirit can make us feel. When we prayed for healing and guidance, we felt fulfilled in the knowledge that God is with us.
‘Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.’ – 1 Peter 5:7
As time went on, the loneliness crept in as we could not see our family or friends or even go to church as we normally did. Our lives had stopped its normal functioning. Suddenly we were faced with the prospect of our lives without the people we love in it. This has made me appreciate my family, my dogs and cats who were such loving companions even more. The most important thing to hold onto in this life is that no matter how lonely or isolated we feel, we are never alone. God is with us and will never leave us.
‘And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.’ – Romans 8:38
This past year has been challenging on all fronts to say the least, but we still have hope. We have never been abandoned by Jesus. He has carried us through these difficult times, and we can calm our hearts with the knowledge that our God is bigger than any pandemic or any troubles that we may encounter. Psalm 91: 2 -3 clearly states God’s promise to us. ‘This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.’
My last thoughts to share would be that all of us should try to remember the value of hope, fulfilment, and love. And most importantly, to live with the peaceful knowledge that Jesus will carry us through these times with His all-encompassing love.