March 25, 2020
Dear Church Family,
Since we are still not able to gather together, I want to bring you a daily devotion (except Sundays) that I hope will give you some comfort and hope during these difficult days we are traveling together. Thank you for being the church for each other.
A Word from Pastor Stephen – March 25, 2020
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”
(2 Corinthians 4:8-10 RSV)
I want to lift up a word that may reflect your mood. I know if reflects my mood. I think most people today have a feeling of being overwhelmed. It was true before this virus turned everything upside down. You want to get off this roller coaster, but it won’t stop. We can be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the problem. Everything seems to be too big to handle.
Then when you are done worrying about the world, you have your own situation to think about. Will I get sick? Will someone I love get the virus? Will I still have a job a month from now? Will I have any money left in the bank? Overwhelmed is the right word to describe how we feel now.
So what do we do? How do we deal with it? Some people disengage. I can understand that impulse. It would be easy to throw in the towel and just say I’m done. I’m just going to binge watch Netflix and not care anymore. Compassion fatigue is real especially among Christians and the Church. You will most certainly feel it in a week or two, if you haven’t already. You just want to quit. It’s all just too much.
But disengaging only works for so long. So what do we do? Other people try to do it on their own. You alone are sufficient to face all these problems. You can do it with your own internal resources. American is built on the image of rugged individualism. You pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Asking for help is equated with weakness. It’s almost viewed as a sin to be vulnerable is our society. But this doesn’t work for very long either.
Remember you are not God. You can resign your position as keeper of the universe. You are not Atlas carrying the whole world on your shoulders. You can turn it over to stronger hands. God can manage things. If you truly give it over to God, all of these things we are going through will seem less scary. This is what faith in God can do for you.
Now it doesn’t exempt you from anything. But having a different perspective and knowing you are not alone can make all the difference in how you face all the things life can throw at you. Remember what Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28 RSV)
Paul knew very well what it meant to be overwhelmed. He faced difficulties we can only imagine, and yet he writes these beautiful words about facing difficulty. This passage alone should be enough to carry you through all that we are facing right now. I can hang onto this. Amen.