This is February’s ‘thought for the month’. (You can read January’s ‘thought for the month’ here, including an explanation about why I’m interspersing these thoughts, with my stories, on the blog this year.)

It stems from the fact that we have only one month to go until we reach the first anniversary of the World Health Organisation declaring COVID-19 to be a global pandemic.


Here in the UK, we remain in national lockdown and – although signs of spring are all around us, heralding a change of season, and although the government is promising the gradual easing of restrictions, over the coming months – many people seem to have lost hope of life ever returning to ‘normal’, or emerging into a ‘new normal’, any time soon.

So, in this month’s thought, I want to ask you this: What are you hoping for?

Are you hoping for freedom from the restrictions of lockdowns and quarantines in your nations?
Are you hoping that you and your loved ones will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, free of charge, as soon as possible?
Are you hoping to be reunited with friends and family, in-person, rather than via screens?
Are you hoping for hugs? Or healing? Or wholeness?
Are you hoping that your children, and grandchildren, will find faith in Jesus?
Are you hoping to find a new job, after being furloughed and made redundant?
Are you hoping that your work will have an impact?
Are you hoping for a pay rise or promotion?

For me: I’m hoping that all the changes to my book manuscript, which have been recommended by the commissioning editor, won’t take me as long to make as I’m anticipating …

But what about you? What are you hoping for?


I like Rachel Hickson’s definition of hope. She says, in her book ‘Stepping Stones to Freedom’: “Hope is a God-given desire with a faith-filled expectation of accomplishment, based on God’s word and promises.” (Available via Waterstones, Eden or Amazon.)

It is God-given – so much more than just wishful thinking. 
It is faith-filled and expectant – trusting God to fulfil, to accomplish. 
It has a foundation – based on what God has said and promised.

How, then, do we find hope?

In Romans 5 v.3-5, we read: “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” 

Note the word ‘rejoice’. It comes from the word ‘joy’, which is found in the Holy Spirit. It is not the same as ‘happiness’. Happiness is transitory. It depends on our circumstances. Joy is deep rooted. It comes from our faith in a good God. And it is joy that enables us to rejoice. So we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings. And note here the word ‘in’. We rejoice ‘in’ our sufferings. We rejoice ‘in’ the midst of this global pandemic.

It’s not about trying to understand our sufferings. It’s not about trying to understand why God has allowed this global pandemic. It’s not about trying to ask God to take it away.

It’s about learning to rejoice in spite of it, during it, here and now, in the midst of it. 

It’s about allowing God to use the suffering being caused by this pandemic – to develop us for His purpose. Because He allows suffering to develop our perseverance, perseverance to develop our character, and character to develop our hope.

Perseverance because we have to learn to wait patiently and hold on to God for what is yet to come, not just in this life but also in eternity. 

Character because we have to learn to hope against hope, trusting that God is in control, and holding out in faith. Especially when we feel utterly out of control. Because that’s when He shapes and moulds us. 

And hope – because Godly hope does not disappoint us.

So, let me ask you again: What are you hoping for?


If you’re a Christian, no matter where you are in the world, why don’t you ask God to use the suffering being caused by this pandemic to develop you for His purpose – by teaching you perseverance, developing your character, and renewing your hope in Jesus?

And if you’re not a Christian, why don’t you let this Bible passage sink into your thoughts, and allow you to see how suffering produces perseverance, character and hope?

As ever, please feel free to share your reflections in the comments below.

Image by jarekgrafik from Pixabay 



  1. bettyboo76 Reply

    That’s a great Rachel Hickson quote, thanks Jo. And I guess it’s a good reminder that our hopes can rarely be fulfilled in our own strength – we need divine intervention to see our hopes fulfilled. So often I (wrongly) rely on my own strengths to achieve my goals. This is a really helpful reminder to look up for ‘faith-filled expectation of accomplishment’. BB x

    • Thanks for your encouragement Betty Boo! I’m so glad to hear you’ve been inspired to look up for ‘faith-filled expectation of accomplishment’ with all that you’re hoping for at the moment.

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