I’m tired and at times I feel like I am on the precipice of being worn out altogether.
Things were going along quite swimmingly until the Ides of March decided to roll in with the COVID-19 pandemic. I had recently returned from a wonderful sabbatical and enjoyed reengaging my congregation and friends here in the Lowcountry.
Then everything became disheveled and no longer resembled what I had known and enjoyed just a few weeks prior. Like storms lining up in the Atlantic during hurricane season, the storms of unrest and sadness continued to align during these past months.
Grief and horror gripped us as we watched videos of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. A civil and social unrest was released in our culture with a confounding mix of well-directed passion, misplaced anger and violence, ambivalence, and general confusion about what was taking place.
And, just because it’s 2020, a year that will be remembered for generations, we are in the midst of one of the most contentious political seasons in our nation’s history.
Where do we turn for hope? Where do we go when we don’t have any hope left?
I am reminded of a dear friend, a fellow minister within the long lineage of Biblical ministers. His name is Elijah (you can read about him in the Bible, in the historical book of 1 Kings). Elijah had just come down from a mountain-top experience when he experienced his own March 2020.
He woke up the next day and the evil queen of the day, Jezebel, placed a bounty on his head to have him dead. He was despondent. He was tired and worn out and wandered out into the wilderness and prayed simply that the Lord would allow him to die. He had lost hope.
Some of you relate to Elijah. I know that I do. There are days that I look around and, though I don’t verbally pray it, I feel and think the same things Elijah prayed. I’m tired, confused, and not sure I want to keep fighting the good fight. But, like Paul Harvey, I know the rest of the story.
The rest of the story reminds us that God meets us in the midst of our weakness and loss. He comes close to the weary and the Bible teaches that Jesus said He would never break the bruised reed or snuff out the smoldering flame.
God provided for Elijah in the desert, led him to Mount Moriah and met him there in a profound way. So often I believe that my weakness is a barrier to God’s love and care when in actuality it is the very portal for His love and care. God is drawn to the broken-hearted and the tired and the confused and hopeless.
I have no idea how 2020 will turn out. However, I have found a strengthened hopefulness and even joy knowing that I can come to God just as I am, and He hears my prayers.
Maybe today you can pray an honest prayer like Elijah and me, and allow God to come and minister to you in your need. He loves doing that!
Rev. Bill McCutchen is lead pastor of Hilton Head Presbyterian Church. firstname.lastname@example.org or hiltonheadpca.com