Congratulations, you've made it through another week of the pandemic.
Congratulations, you’ve made it through another zoom meeting.
Congratulations, you’ve made it through another presidential election.
I’m sure these are all things that you have read, heard, or said to someone in the last several months of 2020. Though we do need to acknowledge and mourn that this life isn’t easy, and while every day on this planet is still one worth celebrating, at what point should we no longer be content with simply making it through?
This year started off extremely grim for me. After months of unexplained symptoms, I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that affected my physical and mental health. Coupled with the realization that I had not actively been fighting for racial injustice in this world, I was weary and debilitated.
One morning when I woke up and my body hurt a little less and my brain wasn’t as foggy, I asked myself that same question “now what?”. I spent some time in prayer when I was reminded by this verse:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” - Romans 5:3
I had a choice to make: I could continue to be angry about the things happening in me and in the world around me that I couldn’t control and sit in that pain with no end in sight, or I could push forward and persevere. I could take my pain and the pain felt by millions in this world around me and develop my attitude and active rhythms to fight for a better tomorrow.
Undeniably, the doubts immediately set in when I wrestled with the struggles with my health and the struggles of those who have been hurt by racial injustice and brokenness in our country and world. I began to think to myself...
It’s too much for me to do! I have two kids, a full-time job, a marriage to keep healthy, and not enough hours in the day.
Jesus is coming and will fix this, right?
What if I say something wrong?
I don’t want create division in my family who may not share my convictions.
If I speak out too much, I will definitely offend someone.
And, if I am honest, I just can’t picture a future that is without racism and abuse…Why can't I see this ever getting better?
A deep sigh later, I looked down and saw a tattoo I got years ago on my right foot: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us*.*" -** Ephesians 3:20
I remembered that I’m not meant to just “make it in life" and neither are you. I can’t see the future and I bet the future seems a bit foggy for a lot of you as well. I can't even begin to fathom what God can do in and through me and to change and unify this world and I wonder if you've ever felt the same.
So it turns out that my earlier question, “now what?”, is not just a question for me – it's a question for all of us.
We are living in the midst of troubling times. Now what are we going to do about it?
Here's what I am committing to and I want to invite you to join me.
Now, I will daily replace the doubts in my head with God's truth. Now, I will stop limiting myself because I know that God is not limiting me. Just because something was one way in the past, it doesn't mean that it should or will stay the same way in the future.
Friends, your endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our hope. A hope in a God that can do immeasurably more than anything we could ask or imagine. My hope isn’t in our current administration but in the true community of Christ.
Now, together, we must work towards a better tomorrow because I am the hands and feet of God and so are you. Right now, together, we have the ability to change this world. Let us not wait another day to begin to do what God has called us and equipped us to do today.