Monday, December 08, 2008
It's a tough, tough time for the nation. We are well into a huge economic crisis and the people who are going to get hit the very hardest are those living on the edge with no reserves to fall back upon. The more vulnerable ones live paycheck to paycheck, sometimes even taking out payday loans to cover emergencies--and those loans have unbelievably damaging interest rates, thus pushing already precarious financial positions into real calamity.
No reserves--that's the problem. Nothing to carry us when blow after blow comes.
That is how I'm feeling right now. No real reserves after a very challenging few months as well as a very blessed few months as pastor here. I serve such a wonderful church. These dear people offer themselves as examples of Christ Incarnate in their joy and service and loving response to all coming their way. Even so, the energy drain continues on me, and everyone knows it. And I just can't figure out how to get filled up again. It's like the financial crisis--a precarious situation moves over into real calamity when there are no reserves to call upon.
It's easy to list the challenges and responsibilities on front of me. And frankly, most clergy would love to be in the situation I'm in--and therefore I have a very hard time complaining about it, although of course I do.
We'll know more later this week, but I do believe we have seen a healing take place in one of the members of my church. This morning, spending time in prayer before being able to find the energy to leave my bed, I was thinking about the time that the woman with the long-lasting hemorrhage touched the edge of Jesus cloak and Jesus felt the energy go out of him as she became well. Of course he would rejoice in her healing--and did so with gracious words of invitation into his family of faith. But was he exhausted afterward? Perhaps that is why his ministry was so short--those few years in which he gave all was all he could possibly muster.
I have long held that healing can only take place in extreme cooperation between God and the person in need of it. It cannot be outwardly imposed on someone who really, really doesn't want it. Many say they want it, but few really do. Many are called, but few are chosen. Few really, really want the kind of holy responsibility that comes with being healed by the hand of God. Few truly wish to live a well persons in a world that encourages sickness of heart and mind and soul and body.
Will God restore my reserves? Or better, is God interested in restoring my reserves? I think so. But I don't think God will fill my well any more than financial accounts miraculously turn from red to black just by wishing it. It takes cooperation. It means lining myself up with holy habits that promote the rebuilding of the reserves: rest, sabbath, time to read and reflect, time outside, laughter, order--in many ways, being a bit more selfish with my time and energy.
No quick fix here. Wish there were.