During this coronavirus season, we can think of many reasons to be afraid—becoming sick myself, enduring isolation, dealing with financial woes, anxious that the medical resources are not sufficient, worried about friends and loved ones… When I experience anxiety or fear, I tend to lose hope. Yet hope seems to be the opposite or antidote to fear. Hope is what I must hold on to. The psalmist reminds me:
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
My Savior and my God.
—Psalm 42: 5, 11
Hope is a way of facing the future clinging to faith in the God who loves me. Fear is another way of construing the future—worrying and doubting that God or good fortune will help me. Planning is a third way of facing tomorrow—taking matters into my own hands and preparing for what may come (such as stockpiling hand sanitizer and toilet paper).
Our country and nations worldwide are trying to plan wisely: social distancing, closed borders, marshaling resources and washing hands. Ultimately, God’s people act prudently but trust in the Lord Himself. And our Lord emptied Himself to become a servant. A servant shares time, effort and resources on behalf of others.
Hope in the Lord is our foundation for generosity. One of the values I appreciate most about Frontier Fellowship is our history of being a generous organization. In our mobilizing efforts, our first request of churches is rarely for our own ministry needs, but rather for the needs of our indigenous partner ministries—they are living at the forefront of frontier mission.
Though we sense the possibility of our own resources diminishing during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m mindful that many of our global partners have very few resources of any kind. This season of contagion calls on us to share with our frontier mission sisters and brothers. To that end, we have created a new Emergency Relief Fund to help alleviate the resource burden on these friends around the world. I invite you to give generously so we can distribute funds as needed for emergency situations.
Hope and fear are incompatible. But we need love to drive out fear. A pastor friend of mine often says, “there is no fear in love and there is no love in fear.” When we are afraid, we tend to focus inwardly and forget others. But when we love and are loved, we can overcome our fears. And experiencing love builds our hope. As followers of Christ, our helping builds hope in our neighbors. We become ambassadors of hope as we help in God’s name.
Grace and peace,
Richard L. Haney