On Making Life New Everyday
Do you ever have those days where you wake up and it feels like everything is in black and white? I have those days quite often, and lately more often than not. After leaving ministry for a temporary break earlier this year, it seems that life has put one obstacle after another in front of us. On the one hand, I have felt a burden of stress lifted from my shoulders that I had carried for years in the pastorate. I am sure that my physical body is healing as a result of not being stressed and anxious almost every day about some situation within the church. On the other hand, new stressors have been ignited; not least of which are financial ones. I am working a full time job these days in retail, which means that I have lots of crazy shifts in the middle of the day or the end of the day that completely ruin any plans I might make for any day. On top of that, I simply don’t have the time to invest in my school work and writing as I once did, or as I hoped to after I left ministry. All of these stressors reached a head this week when I found out that my truck, my only source of transportation, needs a new engine (or at least new heads). Needless to say, something like this can trigger all kinds of feelings of hopelessness (of which I have not completely dealt with even now). So life has become stressful. I am sure you know exactly what that feels like. Life has also become mundane. When you work 5 days a week, go to school all day the other 2, and then sleep the rest of the time, it gets old quick.
Today, as I sat over lunch in a little Chinese restaurant here in Boiling Springs, covered in assignments I am behind on, worried about how any of this is ever going to come together, that this Scripture came to me:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.” (Lam 3:22-24)
Maybe it won’t mean much to you, but it’s good to be reminded that God is a God of new beginnings. I know I sound like Joel Osteen right now. But this is more than just a verse about being optimistic, or looking for the bright and sunny side of life. It’s when we realize the context of this encouraging word from the writer of Lamentations that we can truly appreciate it. Lamentations is, as the name suggests, a book of laments for the destruction of Jerusalem. The entire known world of Jews from that generation was ripped out from under them, and many of them found themselves in exile in a foreign land.
I completely identify with the plight of the “lament-er here.” I have shared with several of you over the past few months that I feel like I am in exile. When you leave ministry, and the church of your tradition, if only for a little while, suddenly you find yourself in a foreign land. It’s a whole new world, but not necessarily a friendly one. Yet, the Scriptures show us the hope that comes from believing that God’s mercy is new every day. Each morning, creation itself testifies to this. And when all I see is black & white, doom & gloom, boredom & the mundane, God is offering me a way to live life new and full of his mercy everyday. So, I have found the freedom and joy that comes from resigning to the behavior of the lament-er; “I will wait for God.”