2020 has been a year that none of us saw coming. As we’ve responded to the immediate urgency of crisis after crisis for over half of a year now, I think that it’s only natural that fatigue begins to set in. I have the privilege of serving on the leadership team at this school. I’ve been in such a position for almost fifteen years now and I can say with no hesitation that the past six months is the hardest I’ve ever seen a group of people work to put everything in place for school to be as safe, successful, and scholarly as possible for every student and family that we serve.
When you’re sprinting for that long, you just. get. tired. There’s a reason that Marathon runners aren’t sprinters. Most runners just don’t have the endurance to sprint at full speed for long periods of time across long distances. For me, in our, “race,” when fatigue begins to set in, so does the attitude. We know that the Israelites took a lot of flack for their grumbling in the desert… but if we’re honest with ourselves, we’d have probably been grumbling too.
I’d like to share three Bible verses that have been on my heart lately. When I think about these verses together, it has helped me paint a clearer picture of how I’m supposed to live, especially in 2020. Maybe it will be helpful for you as well.
Matthew 6:11- Daily Bread
Give us this day our daily bread.
This is a very familiar verse from the Lord’s prayer. Jesus teaches us to pray by asking God the Father for our daily provisions. The human condition has daily human needs. We exist as physical bodies that have needs for food, drink, shelter, health, community, and safety. Jesus is teaching us to trust fully that God will provide us with what we need for this day. And tomorrow, we can pray the same prayer- for daily bread.
The trust that God will provide is echoed later in the same chapter in a section called “Do Not Worry. In verse twenty four, Jesus concludes, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” That last sentence, “Each day has enough trouble of its own” might be a good slogan for 2020!
Psalm 119:105- Just-bright-enough Candles
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
Anyone who grew up in a Christian community in the 90’s can sing the Amy Grant/King James version of this verse with “Thy” instead of “your.” The lamp referenced in this verse isn’t a massive flooding light like a helicopter spotlight or emergency flare that illuminates everything. The lamp in this verse, is a hand-held mini wick with a small bowl of oil to provide the small flame with fuel. Picture someone walking in the pitch black of night and having a small candle that glows just bright enough to see one footstep ahead.
In this Psalm, David is saying that God’s word will show us the way, one step at a time, even if we are walking through the dark chaos of night. God gives us Just-bright-enough candles to navigate this dark night.
Proverbs 3:5-6- Active Trust
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
“Lean into” is a trendy phrase. Nice to know that Solomon was, as usual, way ahead of the curve! Leaning on anything implies full, active trust. There is an action required to lean. It’s not a conceptual belief… “I think that will support my weight.” It’s an active belief- trusting whatever you’re leaning on 100%… and then acting on it by actually leaning your full weight on it.
That’s why when you do team building activities, motivational speakers don’t do “Trust talks.” They do “Trust falls.” True trust requires action. Do you really trust me? Then let yourself go because you know, as demonstrated by your action, that you can trust me and I won’t let you get hurt.
The year is 2020. We are all planners. We like to think of ourselves as an advanced, tech savvy culture that has everything under control; “We’ve got this.” We are all, to varying degrees, control freaks. We like to know what tomorrow holds, and we like to pretend that we’re in charge of those plans. We have wired our lives to work this way… but it’s 2020.
In 2020, somewhere amidst quarantine, global pandemic, chaotic politics, civil unrest, murder hornets, and much more, the message should have sunk in loud and clear by now: WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL! We are indeed walking through a dark night. God is in control, and His will be done.
So Now What?
We might all be planners, but Proverbs 19:21 reminds us that “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Let’s ask God for daily bread as he has taught us. And when we receive daily bread, let’s be legitimately thankful! Let’s go to God’s word- his “just-bright-enough-candles” that, in the midst of tremendous trial and darkness can show us the way. Finally, let’s demonstrate an active trust. Let’s lean on God with everything we have and in everything that we do. Let’s faithfully walk the path set out for us. Even if we can only see one step at a time. We’re in a dark time, but God’s word and His love are trustworthy.
Dear Lord, thank you for this day. We really mean that this time. THANK YOU. You have provided for our daily needs in ways that we take for granted literally every minute of every day. The room I’m in has electricity. I have running, drinkable water piped into my home. I have everything I need and so much more in immeasurable quantity. Give us eyes to see the blessings that you have given to us, even in the midst of trying times. Help us to thank you every day for every day. You did that, today, Lord. Not us. All glory and praise to you!
Help us to be satisfied with enough. We are a greedy people. We always want more- we are so brash that we even think we deserve more. Yet you continue to give us what we need. Your word illuminates our direction. Help us to look first to your word. Thank you for making our path visible- if only for our next step. Bless us with faithful footsteps that go where you would have us go. One step at a time. One day at a time. Help us to walk in the light of your word.
We will lean on you. We’re not going to lean on our wealth, or technology, our own intelligence, or our favored political party. We commit to leaning on you with everything that we have. We pledge full obedience to your will and your word. We know that you have promised that when we do this, you will make our paths straight. We will walk the path that you have set out before us knowing that in all things, you work for the good of those who love you.
We pray all of this in the confidence that only the name of Jesus can bring. Amen.