Life has been particularly hard lately. Strained relationships over whether someone has taken the vax or not taken the vax. Anxiety from world events and the unrest in the middle east (again). Frustrations and anger over the leadership or lack of leadership from our government. Natural disasters impacting many lives. Confusion about what is true and what is disinformation. Sadness for families, friends, and neighbors who have lost loved ones because of the virus or the side effects from the vaccination. Changes in how we think about and “do life” have been altered.
A pandemic of fear has risen throughout the world. The spirit of fear has paralyzed many of us more than ever before in our lifetime. Across the globe, we’re suffering from mental health issues. It’s not just us adults; it’s our own children. They’re suffering too. It’s painful to watch. They are part of us and when they hurt, we hurt too. We feel it. How can we lead and comfort them when we ourselves are struggling to figure out how to maneuver the highs and lows of our emotions which seem to be a consistent pattern these days? In the morning we establish our footing and by noon we’re anxious again. Our evenings bring a myriad of thoughts and feelings to process and resolve.
How do we find our way to the other side of this season? Is there a “getting to the other side” and what in the world does that look like? We’re dealing with a lot. This is new territory for us to put our trust consistently and methodically in God Almighty. Our fledgling and ill-equipped faith limits our courage, undisturbedness, and steadfastness in ways we have never experienced before. The vulnerabilities in our convictions have been exposed and are blaring back at us accompanied by voices of doubt, angst, and uncertainty.
How do we take personal responsibility to own and change where we have landed in our faith and move to a place of peace and rest with God? We can make an adjustment with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Maybe getting to “the other side” of all the current unrest and events of the world is not the endgame–especially for those who are Christ-followers. Maybe the end game is building our faith muscles. Maybe the Father has put us into training. Maybe it’s his love and grace expressing itself like any loving parent would allow into their child’s life. As we face hard things, we build grit and resilience as a preparation for the future. It feels like we’re being asked to bench press 500 pounds and every week more weight is added. We hate this. We groan beneath the brokenness, the evil, and the ambiguity of it all.
What we really want is a return to how things were in 2019 when life was buzzing along, and things seemed great! We want comfort. We want control. We run from discomfort and run to habits that are not in our best interest. Ugh. We anesthetize with food, drink, drugs, shopping, gaming, isolation–anything to fix the pain inside our soul.
What if the answer is to wake up to the fact that we are not as spiritually fit as we thought we were and we become aware of some necessary adjustments needing to shift today? What if today was the day, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to commit to build the sinews of our faith so our spiritual muscles can grow strong and ready for the days ahead?
Let’s choose to move from:
- Fear to Love
Replace the stronghold of fear with the strong arm of love.
“Perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18
- Anxiety to Peace
Replace the stronghold of anxiety with the strong arm of peace.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
- Discouragement to Encouragement
Replace the stronghold of discouragement with the strong arm of encouragement.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
- Despair to Hope
Replace the stronghold of despair with the strong arm of hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
- Sorrow to Joy
Grieve your pain and build a strong arm of joy.
“Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
We are ambassadors for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Let us run our race with excellence, consistency, rest, and preparation. The world needs the hope of Jesus Christ, and we have the privilege of representing Him.
There’s an African Proverb that says, “No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come.”
Today, let’s slow down, be intentional, and take a moment to evaluate our level of spiritual fitness. I know God will provide the answers for you—He always does!
Question: What personal or ministry challenge have you faced during the past year? Which verse written above has been an encouragement to you? How can we pray for you?