Hello Siblings in Christ,
Hope this week’s note finds you safe and well.
As you’ve heard many times throughout the past seven months from many different sources, including myself, these are challenging times. We have a major election this year, and those are anything but relaxing. Then there is witnessing the need for social reform in our nation as systemic racism not only runs rampant, we have political leaders offering their support for said broken system as people of color fear for their lives in situations that most of us would feel no fear. There’s the pandemic that few are saying is a non-event and fake news while science and facts show different. People are putting aside their safety and the safety of those around them because they feel entitled to go without a simple thing like a mask. And then there’s the things that we ourselves carry each day. Our own pains and struggles, our own trials and tribulations. If you’re anything like me, even know that God is always with us, carrying us, you still often find yourself feeling alone and lost. You may be asking yourself, “Where is God’s rod and staff comforting me as I walk through dark valleys?” Believe it or not, that is okay. If it’s any consolation, many of the people we read about in scripture found themselves feeling lost and alone at times. Even Jesus, in his prayer time in the Garden of Gethsemane seemed lost and alone as we read in Matthew 26:39, “Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me.” (CEB)
I know it isn’t always easy to remember this when we feel the crushing weight of our challenges, in the dark times of our lives, but we are truly not alone. God is there with us, always. In Romans 8: 31-39 in the Message we read, “Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” And Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11: 28-30 that we can find rest in him, ““Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG)
Again, these are words that we have heard throughout our walk with Christ, but in times of distress they can seem distant. We need to do all we can to remember them and remember God’s promises to us and the promises we made to God in our Baptism. To help us remember these words and to truly allow Jesus to take the burden from us, we must find time to rest and recover; to take that deep breath and let it out slowly; we must find that time to be alone with God. You must find that spiritual discipline that works for you. Everyone’s is slightly different. Whatever we do, we must remember that God is always reaching out to us and that we must do what we can to reach back to God. When we reconnect with God, it is then that, although our problems are not any less, the news may not change on the TV, but we will find our loads a little easier to bare. In these times the words from Isaiah 40:31, “…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
In those dark lonely times, look for God’s light and know that you are never alone. It will get better; perhaps not in the way you want it to get better, but it will get better.
As always, if you need anything from me, please don’t hesitate to let me know. My heart, thoughts and prayers are with each of you.
Blessings and peace,