How can we have hope when we have no answers?

Hey everyone, my name is Evan, and I am super excited to be able to share with you this week! For those of you who don’t know me, I have been in and around BYA for around three years now. I have been involved in leading small groups and playing drums, among other things, and am so thankful for everything the Lord has brought about in my life and others through this community. God has been teaching me some stuff lately, and I am stoked to bring you along on my journey!
Recently I just got back from volunteering at a Torchbearers Bible School Centre in southern Germany, the same one that I attended as a student back in 2016. Having just finished my engineering degree, I had this fantastic opportunity to travel and de-stress a little bit, as well as help out with a construction project they have going on. I was planning on working there until the bible school wrapped up at the end of March and then was going to travel with some friends, but COVID-19 had other plans, I guess! At the time, people were concerned about the virus and its global spread, but where we were was safe, and it was business as usual. But then the US imposed a travel ban, the German government introduced various restrictions, the bible school was shut down, and all international staff and students (the majority of everyone there) were left needing to find flights home ASAP. Seemingly overnight, the Student’s final weeks at the school were cut short, and travel plans vanished.
Generally, in life, I am a person who wants answers. I like to know how things work, why stuff happens, and what to do next, so times like this can be tough for me because I have no idea why this virus is tearing its way through the world (if anyone does let me know!) and affecting our lives in such huge ways. I don’t understand why so many people across the world are getting sick or losing jobs and loved ones, I don’t know why vacations, events, and sports have needed to be canceled, and I don’t know why the church isn’t allowed to meet in person anymore. And the strange thing is that I am (very slowly) learning to be ok with that. 
While on my 14-day quarantine, I stumbled across a Time Magazine article from N. T. Wright that brought what I have been learning into a new light (I highly recommend it). In the final paragraph, he concludes:

It is no part of the Christian vocation, then, to be able to explain what’s happening and why. It is part of the Christian vocation not to be able to explain—and to lament instead. As the Spirit laments within us, so we become, even in our self-isolation, small shrines where the presence and healing love of God can dwell. And out of that, there can emerge new possibilities, new acts of kindness, new scientific understanding, new hope.

It is ok, and even good, to stop needing answers when there aren’t any and instead to lament or mourn. It’s ok because God does it! We read in the scriptures that God’s heart breaks over the sin of His creation. Jesus himself was described as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). John chapter 11 shows us how Jesus mourned the death of His friend Lazarus with the shortest verse in the bible, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35), even when He knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead! God knows what kind of emotions and sadness we go through because he experiences them as well, and by lamenting and coming before God, we can get closer to His heart, and hope can come out from there.
One way God has been teaching me about His hope is by reminding me of His faithfulness. As the author of Hebrews writes in 10:23, “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” I am slowly learning that through the unknown and scariness of the future, I can trust in Him. Even though I don’t know how long this is going to last or if my family and friends will all be safe, I am learning I can trust God’s promises because I can look back in my life and see all the times that He was with me and provided for me before. And that is not to say that everything will turn out “good” in the end, but it is to say God is good, God is faithful, and God is someone we can trust in when everything else in life seems to be in jeopardy. 

Time Magazine Article: T Wright, Christianity offers no answers about the coronavirus

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About the Author: evan renz

Evan has been an Edmontonian his whole life and has been a part of the BYA community for over three years. He loves music and nearly any activity that can be done outside! Whether it is biking, climbing, or skiing, Evan loves to share these things with his friends and those around him. Similarly, Evan is learning day by day to walk with Jesus and is passionate about bringing his friends along for the journey. He serves as a leader for one of BYA’s groups and Vision Team, as well as playing drums for the Beulah weekend worship team.