For the past few weeks life has felt like more of a burden than normal. No singular reason that I can point to, just a fog of heaviness. Things that normally get me excited are simply less so, days seem longer, and I feel drained of the passion that I usually have for the ministry I do on a day to day basis. (Worth noting that the days are literally getting longer thanks to summer, but that’s beside the point.)
Today in particular is a melancholy day – cloudy and cool. The steady breeze blowing through the window through the office where I’m writing mixes with the (unintentionally) somber music that I turned on to be background to my writing. My page long to-do list feels daunting and I know that I won’t be able to accomplish most of it in the time I have. Almost every night this week is booked with meetings and events, all good but all demanding significant amounts of energy. The labor of fundraising so I can move into full time ministry is long and arduous. The work of God often feels slow and plodding when I want it to be brilliant with speed.
My guess is that quite a few of you are sitting where I am this Monday morning, somewhere other than you’d like to be and unsure of whether or not you’ll ever get there. It’s times like these where our faith is laid bare. Do we operate on the flights of emotion or are we settled, steadfast, and anchored in Christ in season and out of season?
I’m writing this – even though I don’t really feel like it – to give some advice to myself. To follow the pattern of the writer of Psalm 42. To preach what is true when it doesn’t feel true.
In those out of season moments and mornings and months when you just want to step out of the ring and sit at home reading fiction or watching movies or whatever it is that you do to fulfill the longing, don’t believe the promises of earthly satisfaction. Why so downcast, o my soul? Put your hope in God.
Step out of the ring, but not for fleshly pleasures. Those things will fill you like cotton candy and ice cream. They’ll taste great but leave you sick afterwards and inevitably fail to give you the power you need to get back to the fight. Step out and meet with the Lord. Come to him in prayer to draw from the wells of his grace. Meet him in the meditation on the Word to find satisfaction for the hungers of your soul. Remind yourself of all that God has done for you. Put your hope in God.
In season and out of season, good days and bad, through joys and burdens and successes and failures, we need to learn how to draw near to God. Don’t give up my friends. Your Father is with you, even to the end of the age. The victory has been won, regardless of how we’re feeling at the moment. The gates have been opened and the King of Glory has entered in and dwells within you. Give him praise. The burdens will melt away in his presence.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.