We are approaching an anniversary that none of us want to relive. We are coming upon a year since the pandemic forced us into lockdown, and took away what was once normal.
Last week, I began to feel anxiety, but I couldn’t put my finger on the depth of the emotion. I was feeling overwhelmed, but not necessarily stressed. I was feeling sad, but not hopeless. I was feeling helpless, but not of any less value.
And then this weekend, as I was engaged in a coping method of watching reruns of my favorite shows: I named it.
Uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable.
If I try and look too far forward, I feel uncomfortable that we may still have a travel ban and social distancing for months and years ahead.
If I look back, I realize that reflection means dwelling on one of the hardest, most stressful seasons of ministry, leading up to my departure from a call and a career.
If I look at the world now, I see a state, part of the U.S., experiencing third world conditions without water, power and heat. I hear about 500,000 lives lost in just less than a year, from a deadly virus.
I see exhausted health care workers.
I see exhausted parents and teachers.
I see kids, though resilient, feeling the weariness in their own spaces.
It takes me so long to process these things to the point to be able to write them here, but God’s timing is never a coincidence. As I reflect upon this past weekend’s worship, God knew I needed to hear Genesis 22.
As I listened to the pastor recount the lives of Abram and Sarai, I saw so much discomfort.
They left their home because God told them to go.
God promised they would have children late in their lives.
God called Abram to go up a mountain with his ONLY son and sacrifice him.
Now all of these events happened over decades in Abraham’s life. And while I am sure the discomfort was always there, I believe he also experienced joy, love and promise, too.
I truly believe that God has called me in this season to sit in the uncomfortable. I don’t know how long it will last. But in a way, we are all called to the discomfort of living in a broken, temporary place.
Both in Genesis 22 and in my own life, there’s a common denominator of God’s presence.
“But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”Genesis 22:11-14
God provided a sacrifice for Abraham. God provided a sacrifice for us. His name is Jesus.
In the midst of this season of uncomfortable, God continues to provide to me and my family.
- Although finances are tight, we have still been able to pay our monthly bills.
- God continues to bless me with communities of faith for worship, Bible study and prayer support.
- My God-given gifts and abilities are being used for His glory as I serve a number of non-profit organizations.
God will always show up, whether we are doing well or feeling discomfort. God will always provide, whether we see the fruits right then and there, or recognize them in hindsight.
The hope and promise is that even in an uncomfortable state, I know Jesus understands and walks beside me.
So whatever emotions you are experiencing in the hardship of this anniversary, feel them and know that Jesus is with you. God will provide what He knows you need.