It was pitch dark this morning at 6:01; an undeniable signal to the end of summer. Some call it the “lost summer of 2020”; I will concede only that it’s been mighty strange. But that’s all behind us now. Though it’s still a really lovely green, the balmy warmth is gone. Change is in the air.
September is an unstoppable force that sweeps us all up in its wake, ready or not. This year, however, a distinctly tentative quality hangs over normally inflexible protocols. Are the kids going back to school, or aren’t they? Are Universities running or won’t they? Will normal programs resume or not? Do you dare to return to your work-place? To your Church?
Transitions are difficult and disorienting at any time, but this one’s a doozy. Has the whole world been swallowed up by Zoom reality? It certainly feels like it. Nobody has decisive answers, each doing “what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25) which ought to send up all manner of yellow flags right there. Like being a slave in Egypt, you still have to fill your quota, but now, you’re expected to find your own straw to do it.
Because everything in my life must find a Biblical correlation in order to be navigated properly, what comes to mind is the book of Nehemiah. This man was cup-bearer to the king, and by default, envoy to a Jerusalem in great disarray, stalled in their rebuild after a 70-year exile. To say it was a mess is putting it mildly. No only were the walls of protection totally broken down, but the whole place was a heap of ruin and decay, encompassed by vicious, spiteful enemies anxious to hinder the progress in any way they could. Even as work resumed, troubles abounded. Nehemiah is told,
The strength of the burden-bearers is failing, and there is much rubbish: so that we are not able to build the wall. Nehemiah 4:6-11
The Word of the Lord is rare and exceedingly precious in these days. Prophecy is thin on the ground. Even for the valiant calling on His name and laboring strenuously to keep the flocks of God together, the strength of the burden-bearers is failing. I gently remind the Lord that even the die-hards of devotion, perseverance and integrity have finite quantities of physical and mental endurance. We are flesh and blood, after all. No matter how skilled you are at mining the Word, praying without ceasing or serving faithfully, you will hit the wall at some point. Supernatural assistance is required. Hello, Jesus. “Do you not care that we are perishing?”
The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:6-14
Lord, I know you are using this time to deal with the deep rebellion and sinfulness of a world that refuses to acknowledge your holy sovereignty. We are rightly reaping the plague of indifference, iniquity and insolence that we have sown. This is just and right, and yet I know your mercy is greater. As you once took your people out of Egypt amidst a rain of plagues, and loaded them with the wealth of the land, I’m expecting this, at the very least, as the culmination of a pestilent year. God of signs and wonders, lift the burden of your people and bring us out of deadly world systems that break our spirits and enslave our children. You are, after all, the Burden-Bearer.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Father, at the risk of sounding dramatic, your people are stretched thin along the wall, with a trowel in one hand, and a sword in the other. We've been carrying on with what we have. The burden-bearers are doing the best we can, but gracious intervention would be much appreciated. Help, Lord!!
Blessed be the Lord, who daily carries our burdens, and loads us with benefits, Even the God of our salvation. Selah. Psalm 68:19
cb Image by Bing