Longing for the End — 4 April 2020 Devotional

Psalm 31:9–16; Job 13:13–19; Philippians 1:21–30 (read online ⧉)

As we are about to enter yet another week full of COVID-19, exhaustion is setting in for many people. Some people are discovering how empty their lives are without work. Some people are discovering how empty their lives are without others around them. Others are wanting to escape being “locked” into the same house with their parents, teenagers, children, etc.. It makes for interesting times.

The psalmist and Job are both very tired. They are tired emotionally, physically, and spiritually all the way down to their bones. Many of us can sympathize, as we are feeling something similar. Is it to the same extreme? No. It is immediate and undeniable.

Do not deny your feelings. Do not deny your spiritual desert. Don’t think “because you’re a Christian” you’re “not supposed” to feel the way you do. There are exceptions, of course. Jesus does tell us a few things. However, there has long been a culture in churches where many of the feelings people are feeling now would be considered unfaithful and unChristian.

This might actually be the most powerful Holy Week you ever experience if it has not been the most powerful Lent. Being overwhelmed and the exhaustion matches the pace, heartache, and (ultimately) crushing nature of Holy Week. As we approach Holy Week (starting tomorrow with Palm Sunday), embrace it. It sounds strange, yet it is entirely fitting. Too much focus on Easter robs much of the emotional and spiritual significance of Holy Week.

Most people are longing for the end of the COVID-19 situation. For some it is cabin-crazy, others are terrified financially, others are terrified for their health. When will it end?

We don’t think of Paul asking that question, for we look at Paul as this big character and “doctor” of the Christian faith, and he is. As we read Philippians, he wanted to go “home” to be with Jesus. He wanted it to just be over and get to the great part. Paul wanted it to end. However, he wanted to take as many people with him to Jesus. The quip holds true, you can only take people to Heaven with you, not things or status.We are called not to deny our feelings, exhaustion, our fear. We are called to embrace them…and then live our lives as fully as we can through Christ. Then we become testifiers to the hope that we have that is beyond the current and beyond the now. There are many people around us that need that hope.

1) How are you doing? Really. What are your feelings? How are you doing emotionally, spiritually, physically?

2) What might Holy Week teach you (yes, you’re guessing) about how to deal with COVID-19? What might your experiences with COVID-19 teach you about Holy Week?

3) There are a lot of people struggling right now. Many of them are thinking about a different response to, is it over yet? What will you do to seek such people out and to give them hope? If you are one of those that are thinking of suicide, who can you reach out to?