Unprecedented events. Uncertain future. Troubling times.
These are the words peppered through all the news reports these days. Every email, whether it's from work or the government...or even some store you gave your email to two years ago, wants to let you know that "during these unprecendented events" they are taking care of business.
Somehow, this doesn't really make me feel better. How about you? I mean...I'm having a low day. I've had several of those recently. I bet you have as well.
I’m discouraged and frustrated. I’m confused and uncertain. I'm disappointed that plans I was making aren't going to happen now. The tears are just below the surface and I don’t know what comes next.
I don’t tell you this because I’m throwing myself a pity party and I’m looking for sympathy. We're all having these thoughts and feelings right now. Right? We’re all having days where “the funk” settles in and it’s hard to feel like there’s a way forward. But I am reminded of the text of one of my favorite choir anthems:
Lord, I will lift my eyes to the hills, knowing my help is coming from You.
Your peace You give me in time of the storm.
You are the source of my strength; You are the strength of my life.
I lift my hands in total praise to You.
The way forward won’t be found through my own efforts. I won’t be able to think my way to the best solution. No self-help book, creative problem-solving method, or TV therapist is going to offer me the help I need. I know where my help comes from, and I’m going to have to lift my eyes.
"If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land."
- Jeremiah 29:13-14
I’m convicted. Have I really looked for Him wholeheartedly or have I spent my time looking for toilet paper and ground beef? Have I intentionally sought His guidance or am I seeking the advice of negative neighbors or self-proclaimed internet experts? Do I make it a point to sit in His presence and listen or I am listening to a 24-hour news cycle that recycles the same information over and over? I may not be in captivity to another nation, but I am certainly captive to my negative thoughts and I feel captive in my home. I’m a prisoner of my doubt and fear.
He promises to gather us up and bring us home to a land of peace. He promises to bring us back to our own land again...back to our church and our schools, back to our friends and family, back from isolation. He promises to restore our fortunes and end our captivity. But it’s a promise that comes with a requirement: IF you look for me, you will find me.
In difficult times – pandemic illness, economic uncertainty, hateful rhetoric, isolation, and despair – we’re all looking for a source of inner strength. The Source of all strength is waiting on us to lift our eyes and seek Him.