Recent news headlines seem like a bad news buffet. Everywhere we look, there seems to be death, danger, destruction, confusion, and turmoil. Our souls are saddened and our hearts are heavy and overwhelmed with so much trouble in so many directions. What’s worse, it seems like every situation – the COVID crisis, blatant racism, mistreatment of immigrants, the plight of refugees, soaring unemployment – will get worse before it gets better. These societal issues are coupled with personal concerns involving strained relationships, deteriorating health, or pinched finances. Combine these ingredients with a generous dose of sensationalistic media coverage and you have the perfect recipe for anxiety and depression. To be honest – we are mentally and spiritually fatigued.
We may know how we feel, but have you ever stopped to consider why we feel the way we do? Looking through a spiritual lens, the answer is simple: we are not designed for this. We are designed to exist in Eden. We weren’t created for harsh words or painful assaults or emotional despair. We were created to praise and glorify God. Hebrews 13:15-16 says “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” We are at our most joyful when we are serving as agents of love and peace in whatever form that occurs. It is in those moments that we are fulfilling our divine purpose.
Well that’s all well and good you may say, but how do we get from here to there? How can we rejoice in the Lord when so many flawed systems are failing around us? How can we speak of God’s goodness when we feel helpless? Again, the answer is simple: we must power through. I invite you to consider these ways to spiritually power though:
- Every athlete knows that resistance increases strength. God never wastes a crisis. We are suffering compound crisis which means we have amplified opportunities to experience God. As people of God, we have a divine advantage with the Holy Spirit activated in our lives. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
- We operate every day with the awareness that we do not have to bear burdens alone. Deuteronomy 31:6,8 says “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
- We do not have to operate in our own strength. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
- We do not have to rely on our limited resources, because we have the universe at our disposal. Psalm 145:18-19 says “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”
- We function with radical love because we walk with relentless hope. Hebrews 10:23 says “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
- We have peace, not because of the absence of conflict, but because of the presence of God. John 14:27 says “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
- Since we acknowledge that we operate in God’s strength and not our own, we are, in fact, spiritual Olympians. Romans 8:37 says “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
We trust in God, beyond the surface of what we see, knowing that our divine Creator has a master plan. Perhaps the official Olympics were cancelled this year so we can focus on our spiritual bodybuilding. If we focus on God and listening to what he would have us do in this challenging season, we can certainly power through.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
– Ephesians 3:16-20