“When they [Jesus and the disciples] came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, and said, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.’ Jesus answered, ‘You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.’ And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly.” – Matthew 17:14-18
Last week I took a lite-side approach to the fatigue we are all feeling due to this long pandemic fight. One person did email me and told me not to forget to take the time to watch a sunrise and or sunset. Great advice. There is something holy about watching the sun come up and go down. It always reminds me that someone bigger than you or me is in charge of the world. So, yes, add this to your list of fatigue busting practices.
In today’s devotion I’d like to take a more serious look at fatigue. This will not be a devotion filled with psychological advice about how to deal with fatigue, but rather to help you see that in the midst of this pandemic, we as Christians have been given a holy and very important call.
In the Gospel I shared, we see that Jesus wasn’t except from fatigue. I can see Jesus, who is almost three years into his ministry at this point, looking at the disciples – who had once again let him down and failed to grasp the power they had been given – and with a weary tone in his voice say, “How much longer must I put up with you?”
Jesus had touched so many lives. He had healed so many people. He delivered hope to thousands upon thousands. He specifically called twelve to equip to carry on his ministry once he returned to heaven, yet, despite all that, the disciples don’t seem any closer to understanding their purpose and mission. In frustrations says, “How much longer must I put up with you?”
Yet the fact remains that though fatigued, frustrated and weary, Jesus kept going. He didn’t waver from his ministry. He knew his call, and he was going to accomplish it no matter what.
I think this moment in Jesus’ life, speaks to the condition we find ourselves in today. Despite our fatigued, frustrated and tired, we have a call: we too have a mission. Our mission is to keep hope alive. Right now the world is filled with so much hopelessness due to the pandemic. People are so tired of the despair caused by the divide that is growing hate in our country. People need someone to proclaim hope – and we’re the one’s God has called to fulfill that mission.
According to a sixteenth-century rumor, doomsday preachers of the day prophesied about the end of time. Martin Luther was questioned about how to live in the face of the apocalypse. He scoffed at the rumor and said, “If I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would plant a tree this afternoon.” In other words, he would continue to fulfill his ministry.
I know you are all tired, I’m tired too. I know you’re frustrated and weary. But rather than give in to the feelings of frustration, tiredness, and the childish behavior of trying to find a scapegoat, remember we have a call, a mission, a specific purpose in this time and place – We are called to plant a tree of hope in the hearts of those around us.
Yes, in dark times – plant life. That is our mission, that is our call from God for this moment in history.
~ God bless us all on our mission, Dan