It appears we are getting weary. I sense that people’s patience is running out. The world around us is frazzled. And why wouldn’t it?
We have been dealing with COVID-19 since March, right? It seems longer. Many have tried to be compliant, doing the loving and respectful thing. Sticking close to home. Socially distancing. Washing our hands. Wearing a mask in public.
Others have not bothered, perhaps yet another cause of irritation for some.
In these weeks following the tragic death of George Floyd we have observed the protest, the anger and the pain. Maybe it is just the company I keep, but most folks seem to understand or are trying to understand why the Black community is weary of the injustice and inequality.
And yet, we also see destructive riots that have arisen and the chaos that has erupted, often from outside agitators, also disappointing. It must be hard for those individuals who are trying to express their legitimate concerns appropriately, legally, only to have others unconnected disrupt the process. And then getting blamed for someone else’s bad behavior.
And then there’s the election … let’s just let that one be. That would simply open a Pandora’s box of emotions and less than civil behavior.
The point is this, there has been a lot going on and there are a lot of unanswered questions: When is this pandemic going to end? What is the deal with schools? Will they or will they not start up? I suspect many of us have sadly realized there is no win/win scenario.
All of this adds to our weariness. I find myself wishing we could simply unplug 2020 much like we would with our computers and then reboot the whole year over again anticipating better results. No such luck.
Recently I was reading one of my morning devotionals where the writer offered her own litany of challenges and frustrations that seem to afflict our world and our lives. But then she reminds us that each of us, as well as the whole world, is in God’s hands, even when it does not look like it.
She also rightly reminds us that while we might look to other sources of stability, control, certainty and order - our hope ultimately lies with God, our Father. While it might be tempting to look to living in the past, nostalgic bygone days - while that might sound nice - quite frankly, it’s not very helpful.
Nor is leaning on political leaders of any stripe. Nor is it helpful hunkering down in one’s figurative or literal bunker. None of these provides the help, guidance or care that we need and desire. To which I am reminded of the words of a dear old saint in a past congregation, “Honey (everybody was 'Honey'), if you are not a part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”
Truer words were never spoken.
In times like these I find myself recalling those words from Romans 8 where we are told that nothing will ever separate us from the love of God, and that list would include all of the stuff listed above: not COVID-19, chaos or even elections can separate us from the love of God.
Having said that, I would also hope and pray that this same love would shape and guide our lives in such a way that we are capable of loving and serving our neighbors in need, inspiring us to be patient, compassionate and part of the solution.
I am also reminded of one of those timeless hymns we would sing (or hum due to COVID-19), "My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less," where we are reminded of how “On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Many of us are weary of sinking in the sand, muck and mire of our current challenges. Between the hymn writer and St. Paul, we are given words of hope and assurance that God’s got this, Christ is at our side to lift us up, to support, to guide and to empower us to be part of the solution, to be a difference maker, to be the people God created us to be.
Stephen Blenkush is pastor at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes.