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Exhaustion and Hope

“Dear Reverend Daniel, Please tell 2020 to pull over; I would like to get out. I will walk from here.”

When a friend sent me that little meme a couple of weeks ago, I laughed in commiseration. It has been a rough year, and we have many in our own community who have had it worse. In addition to being a misery multiplier, COVID19 has meant job losses, decreased income, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

This week’s staff meeting was the final proof. Our church staff loves to work together, and it is rare that a meeting is not joyful. We get our work done, but we tend to like each other. But after a week of exposure, sick kids, and setbacks with the rise in cases here in Arizona and specifically here in Maricopa County, we were all down.

Sometimes we just endure. But Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans that our “endurance produces character, and a character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.” We are in the summer of Romans, so it is worth taking a moment and remembering his reason why.

“God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” We no longer live under our own strength nor by our own goodness. We live in the power of Christ and have his righteousness.

Righteousness is God’s approval. Think about that for a moment. You have God’s approval. You have his Spirit poured into your spirit. You have the power that created the universe and brought Jesus back from the dead with humanity in tow.

This moment is rough. But this moment is just another opportunity for God to show up in unexpected ways to see us through and to use us to see each other through.

Don’t give up! God has your back. He will see you through. Sunday I talked about endurance, and it was in the context of the hard sayings of Matthew. Sometimes you just keep going. It is not going to be easy. But on the other hand, Jesus reminds us this week that we have God’s authority and his presence is in us.

If someone gives you even a drink of water, they give it to God. “They will not lose their reward.” That is true because God is represented by you. You can do mighty things. You can right wrongs and make the world better because you are more than you think.

Your faithfulness will do mighty things. Your work will be multiplied in ways you cannot imagine and may never see. So be strong in the Lord and carry on. You are not alone. You are not defeated. You are God’s own child.

In Christ,