Hope for the COVID Fatigued

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi’s quote has always resonated with me, but especially now as we near the end of 2020. I have never been so ready for the New Year, illustrated by the fact that our Christmas decorations are already back in the attic. COVID fatigue is a real thing. Not one person has escaped the exhausting effects of this pandemic. The initial perks of a quieter, less hurried lifestyle have long since been overshadowed by isolation and uncertainty.

We have each experienced dozens of small changes that add up and weigh us down. Social distancing means less hugs and conversations with strangers. As we wear our masks we miss exchanging smiles. My daughter and I have joked that people must think we are staring them down while we are smiling at them under our masks! Much heavier is the burden for those who have lost jobs and loved ones to the virus. Before I add to our COVID fatigue, I will get to some good news!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” II Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

We are generally comforted when we connect with someone who has gone through a similar difficulty but this year has robbed us of that kind of human reassurance. Although none of us has successfully reached the other side of this pandemic, we can all have peace with God through Jesus Christ, and receive comfort and courage from His Word and Holy Spirit. One such comforting passage tells us that everyone gets weary and tired, but God does not.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

God is not fatigued by 2020. We can trust that He will supply strength and refreshment to us even in our wilderness. He proved this time and time again in His Word. 

“When the poor and needy search for water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”  Isaiah 41:17-18 (ESV)

God has given us Himself through the person of Jesus Christ and gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we put our trust in Him as our Savior. In His interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus tells her, “…’Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (NASB)

The Person of the Holy Spirit dwells inside of believers and produces inner strength and joy that is available regardless of what is going on around us. Peace rules inside, making no logical sense to those around us or even to ourselves.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

I would be lying to you if I told you that I have experienced only peace in my heart in 2020. When my weakness as a human being gets in the way and I take my eyes off Jesus, I panic just like Peter did (Matthew 14:25-31). However, I have an enduring hope, just like Mary did, and no one can take that away from me (Luke 10:42). We can all have this hope by faith.

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

As we wait for the restoration of community and the warmth of smiles and hugs, we can still soar like eagles on the inside, knowing that the God, the One who does not fatigue, loves us and is for us.

Happy New Year!

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Please Understand

I hate misunderstandings. Perhaps that is why I have been such a faithful student of Myers-Briggs Type for so long. I want everyone to understand everyone. A great book to read on Myers-Briggs types is actually called Please Understand Me. As a middle child, I find it natural to play the role of mediator and peacemaker. As an ENFJ personality type, the drive to facilitate good communication and harmonious relationships magnifies that role exponentially!

About two years ago, I saw my tendency to communicate on the behalf of others displayed in full color. During a weekend visit my sister and brother-in-law, my mother and I enjoyed spending some time with my niece, who was about two years old at the time. Although very verbally advanced for her age, she occasionally had trouble communicating her needs. Even though she was very skilled at letting you know what she wanted, without a full vocabulary, she still struggled from time to time. Anytime I thought I knew what she wanted, I intervened quickly to explain her desires to whomever was listening. My niece, would then happily receive what she wanted, and I would receive heroine status, which is what I wanted!

On the last night of our visit, while my sister was reading my niece a book, she was suddenly interrupted midway through the story. Coming to her aid, my brother-in-law stepped in and started reading the book from the very beginning (instead of where my sister had left off). My niece, not knowing how to tell him exactly where to continue reading, closed her eyes and covered her ears with her hands and yelled, “Mauuurnie!!!” She wanted her Aunt Marnie to communicate for her once again, which I did, happily and promptly, barely holding back laughter!

One of the many remarkable things to me about Jesus was His ability to keep silent during His trial before His crucifixion. The injustice and misunderstanding of it all would have been some of the worst kind of torture imaginable for me.

“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”

Isaiah 53:7 (ESV)

“Then Pilate said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?’ But He gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.”

Matthew 27:13-14 (ESV)

Jesus took our sins, allowed Himself to be falsely accused and utterly misunderstood. The onlookers surely thought He was getting what He deserved.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

Isaiah 53:4 (ESV)

Jesus, who was innocent, kept silent during His trial and even asked His Father to forgive those who misunderstood.

“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments.”

Luke 23:34 (ESV)

The apparent misunderstanding was the plan from the beginning of time. The King of the Universe allowed Himself to be falsely accused and mocked while He prayed for His abusers.

Dear Jesus, Thank You for enduring the worst kind of misunderstanding on my behalf so I can enjoy being totally loved and understood by You.

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