Who out there is tired? Tired of virtual school… tired of wearing masks and hand sanitizer… tired of not seeing family and friends… tired of the subtle angst of losing your job or getting COVID? Maybe you have descended into those lows already.
Many of you have leadership roles on top of all that… as a manager or an owner or even as a parent. You are having to reinvent yourself and your business model over an over again… as one of my interns said: doing all the familiar things in unfamiliar ways. It is harrowing… and exhausting!
For my colleagues in ministry, my heart especially goes out to you. Shutting church down. Reopening church and worship. Shutting it down again. All the while, ‘experts’ out there on the internet are telling you what techniques you should follow… how to leverage Facebook or other social media to keep your people engaged! It’s all so… overwhelming.
Have you ever felt your hands shake from exhaustion or fear… or both? Other spiritual leaders have felt that way and I was reminded by a pastor buddy of mine of such a story (he was actually quoting to me from a sermon I preached some time ago but I needed to be reminded of the message). It’s a story from the Book of Nehemiah.
The Jewish people had been exiled to Babylon and Persia, but now they were returning to the Promised Land. Nehemiah, a Jewish man but high in the Persian government, embarks on a project to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, but the neighboring powers don’t want a strong Jerusalem. So, they threaten and bully Nehemiah. They even threaten to spread rumors that he is planning a revolt against Persia. If people have ever lied about you to the boss, you know how intimidating this can be… except Nehemiah would most likely lose his head as well as his job. But here is how he responds:
8 Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.” 9 For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
When you are seeking to do good but you are frightened or just exhausted, your hands begin to grow weak. Nehemiah gives a bold and strong response to his bullies, but we see in his prayer life that he feels afraid and weak. So he reaches out to God and asks for exactly what he needs: “Now, O God, strengthen my hands.”
I want to send a word of encouragement out there to all you shepherds and leaders and people just trying to make it through bedtime. Press on. Keep doing what you are doing. God is with you! So, reach out to him for strength for today. And he will be with you.
If you are a working mom, keeping loving your kids and being faithful at work. Do you need to make adjustment? Maybe… but the mission of loving God and your family remain. “O God, strengthen their hands!”
If you are out of work and going crazy with kids who are in virtual learning, keep looking for ways to provide and give structure to your kids learning environment. “O God, strengthen their hands!”
If you are a pastor befuddled about what’s next and overwhelmed by the technological “solutions” foisted on you, keep seeking to love the flock well… don’t ‘wow’ your people with your strategy… love them! “O God, strengthen their hands!”
As many of you know, the Hebrew word, Emmanuel, means God with us! Christmas reminds us of the powerful fact that God became human and dwelt among us and he continues to be present with us by His Spirit. And that Spirit is a spirit of power.
In God’s providence, vaccines are on the way. The light is at the end of the tunnel. But the tunnel itself remains pretty dark. Press on and look to God as you are real with him about your weariness… about your fear. And he will strengthen you.
If you need encouragement through coaching or even a help with life, business or church strategy, contact me at concordsolutions.org. We are ready to help.