This is your mission. There will be changes. Be prepared.
Intellectually we all imagine there will be challenges in life. We just don’t imagine the challenges will be that difficult or last that long. Its very tempting to simply brush them off with an eye-roll, chuckle and a “suck it up, Buttercup” mentality. Super smart people have a name for it: compassion fatigue. Sometimes it’s called ‘disaster fatigue.’ One more illness, winter storm, school shooting or story about a Chicago police commander murdered in the street can send us right over the edge into the ‘I don’t care anymore” abyss. It can be relationship, work or school related. The symptoms include an overwhelming sense of psychological, mental and emotional paralysis. We get stuck. We don’t feel, don’t cry, don’t care….about anything.
"Sufferers can exhibit several symptoms including hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, sleeplessness or nightmares, and a pervasive negative attitude. This can have detrimental effects on individuals, both professionally and personally, including a decrease in productivity, the inability to focus, and the development of new feelings of incompetency and self-doubt.” (Thanks Wiki)
I did a little research. How do we overcome or heal from this disorder? Each article gave some basic directives like get educated, take time away from the news or be kind to yourself. Blah, blah, blah. It felt like platitudes. A revelation to me that even people who work in these expensive institutes dedicated to investigating the problem don’t know what to do for people or societies who suffer from this problem. I was in Africa seven months ago, mention the word Rwanda. Trust me. Whole societies suffer.
Jeremiah’s story reveals a very personal struggle between a prophet and God. A nation is involved. In order to be equipped to be what God calls us to be—prophet person—and not be crippled all our lives by inadequacy, we need to know supremely these two subjects: God and the world, and to be trained in them thoroughly. In both subjects, first impressions and surface appearances are deceiving. We underestimate God and overestimate evil. We don’t see what God is doing and conclude he is doing nothing.* Despondency set in for Jeremiah. Despondency develops with wrong expectations. He plummeted to the depths of despair after receiving a great call and visions from God. It’s very tough to slug through chapter after chapter of disaster it’s like eavesdropping on a heartbreaking disastrous relationship argument. Read chapters 1-11 for yourself. It’s a great Lenten exercise. Finally, in chapter 12, Jeremiah complained and loudly. God responded in an unexpected way.
Join us Sunday for worship. I challenge you to put aside your expectations about the world and God. A major break through can happen in an unexpected way when we disconnect from our diminutive, narrow, restricted points of view to allow the holy, sanctified, God-sized expansion of our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the invigorating life God longs for us to lead, friends. Let’s get out there and get it!
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head.” Job 42:1 The Message
*Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best. Eugene Peterson.