May 27, 2020 in Devotions
This is Pastor Jennifer Hall’s article for Trinity Lutheran Church’s May newsletter. Some of the content is specific to Trinity, but we can all benefit from the message.
“We are doing the best that we can!”
This is my new motto as we enter the second month of the stay-at-home order, a time I am getting tired of but know is necessary. Before this all started Scott and I loved our time off on Fridays. We would plan to experience something new in the area or even spend the day at home to do laundry. Now, we procrastinate laundry day as long as possible (after all, we only shower every few days!) and only leave the house for groceries every 12-14 days. Well, we do walk the dogs, so there is that! Before this all started we loved cooking together as a kind of date night. Now meal planning seems like a chore and we try to figure out leftovers or just chips and salsa for many dinners. Yes, how things have changed! Now we just pray that we aren’t both having a “bad” day on the same day. I don’t know if our dogs could handle two weepy and crabby humans on the same day. But, in all of this, we are doing the best that we can. As I’m sure you are as well.
Hebrews 10:35-36 (New Living Translation)
35 Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will.
The book of Hebrews brings a word of encouragement to discouraged Christians. The intended readers once had a vivid sense of God’s presence and later showed bold support for others during an outburst of persecution. Yet as time dragged on, some began drifting away. The author recognizes that the gospel’s message may be glorious, yet life in the Christian community and the wider society is often discouraging. The author emboldens them by telling of the way Jesus the pioneer went through suffering into glory, making a way for others to follow. The writer encourages dispirited Christians to persevere in faith, since Christ has brought them into a new covenant relationship and God will be faithful to them. The author shows how the message of hope can continue to motivate people to lives of faith and service.
This is where Jesus meets us: as time drags on and becomes discouraging, along the road, at the tomb, among our dashed hopes, alongside our struggles, in our joys and laughter, in our prayers and ponderings, among us at all times. And in all of those times and places I imagine that Jesus nudges us and tell us, “Trust and know that I am with you in this time. My love will be enough to remind you that you are my beloved. I know you are doing the best that you can.”
These are the places where Jesus meets us that are on my heart today:
~Scott and I just got done with the third and final take of a Lucy (Pastor Scott) and Pastor Jennifer puppet show. Scott is in hour two of editing and uploading. Geez, so much recording! We are doing the best that we can.
~Scott’s sermon on Sunday (4/26) talking about the grind of doing the same thing each day as we stay inside and not go anywhere unless necessary. Then we go to bed and asking each other, what will we do tomorrow? Well, the same thing of course! We are doing the best that we can.
~Faithful people calling and sending us emails of support and encouragement as they are experiencing worship online. And the faithful comments of dashed hopes that would like Trinity’s prerecorded worship back in the sanctuary so that it feels more like worship. We are doing the best that we can.
~We are receiving an overwhelming amount of information on how to return back to the sanctuary for worship. I pray over the Safety and Security Team, the Council, and Staff as they ponder so many questions and possible plans to make before such return can happen as we keep the most vulnerable in our population at the forefront of our decisions. We are doing the best that we can.
~The Call Committee gathering via Zoom, praying together, discerning, and writing about your church’s hopes and dreams to create a profile to be shared with potential pastoral candidates. They are doing the best that they can as God guides them in grace.
~And the families…..parents who are trying to be both teacher and employee at the same time or parents that are figuring out that family time is what is so precious and valuable right now. Grandparents, grieving as they miss their grandbabies, taking the moments of Zoom, Facetime, phone calls, drive by waves, and the receiving cards and pictures of love in the mail as a flash of love and hope. You are doing the best that you can.
~People that haven’t showered in two days and binge watch Netflix as that is their only brain power right now. You can barely get off the couch but still somehow find that one ray of sunshine to get up and grab some food or walk outside to soak up the day. People that go to bed sad and anxious but pray for a new day of hope to dawn when light begins to shine anew. You are doing the best that you can.
~The essential workers who sleep in a hotel or even in the garage in order not to bring home the potential of infection to their family. Or the ones who get up each day, with worry and sadness, and still go out to serve in order to try to help those around them live a healthy life of hope. You are doing the best that you can.
~The moments that we find hope and joy and laughter: through a puppet show, John’s Krasinski’s Some Good News (YouTube, 5 episodes), weird TV shows, new roads to explore on a walk, that moment you hear a voice of hope and love on the phone. Oh the stories…..
Brothers and sisters – we are all doing the best that we can! Give yourselves a break. Find a moment of God’s surprise, hope, and joy. Be a part of someone’s day of laughter and love. And above all, know that God is with you in all times and places offering moments of patient endurance. Trust in the Lord!
God’s Patience and Hope,