“But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” –Luke 5:15-16
I don’t know about you guys, but it feels like everyone has had about enough of each other these days. Not only are we on week one million of social distancing and quarantine, but it’s now summer and our kids are officially out of school. Lots of people are still working from home, while others are still searching for an available job. On top of all of this, we’re seeing a modern-day civil rights movement happening everywhere we look following the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and now, George Floyd. Opinions are hot. Tensions are rightfully high. Everyone is feeling both stirred up and worn out.
Many of the things happening in our culture merit and require outrage, lament, and action. For our souls, there is emotional and tiring work that must be done. And for many of us, this is an inner work we’re engaging in intentionally for the very first time. Galatians 6:9 encourages us, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
So how do we keep going in the midst of this necessary mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion and fatigue?
In Micah 6:8, I see a key to sustaining the work God wants to do in us, his people, and in our nation. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
We must hold in unison action and walking with God. This endeavor to have greater understanding, empathy, and love for our neighbor is not an endeavor to handle in our own strength. This is more than a battle of flesh and blood, but a spiritual battle at its core. Staying connected to Jesus in the midst of fighting for cultural change and doing the inner work of personal change is the key to lasting transformation.
In order for the change we seek to be sustainable, we must do it in tandem with God, empowered by the source of true love, strength, and justice–the original initiator of reconciliation.
How are you taking care of yourself in the midst of this pandemic? How are you making space to be quiet while also raising your voice in the face of injustice? Know that in the midst of all this chaos, running at full speed is not sustainable without daily times of rest with God.
Are you getting the space you need daily to encounter God–space for quiet, to unplug from the noise, to process, and be restored by God? As you bring your grief and lament to him, are you taking the time to allow him to speak and heal your heart and mind? To the parent, are you getting any time away from your children, simply to get space to think and process without the noise? A break from social media or the news may be in order for a day or two.
It may be time to unplug in order to be refreshed and re-engage with God’s strength.
Speaking up is necessary, it is needed. It is important, worthy work (Proverbs 31:8-9). Loving your spouse, your roommates, your children well is the most important ministry you will ever have. Bearing the burdens of our brothers’ and sisters’ pain and suffering is the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). These are all forms of God’s work. I think there is a lesson we can learn from Jesus that we must allow to anchor us in this time for important work, grief, and advocacy.
Even Jesus had to withdraw from the crowds and pray. We may not have physical crowds due to social distancing, but the crowds on social media are very real and all-consuming. Friends, we must not forsake our souls, bodies and minds in these difficult times. Your ministry to your children, your spouse, your people, the world depends on it.
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” –Isaiah 1:17