Recently, I got to hear a friend of mine preach; he gave the devotional message at a Wespath meeting I attended. He serves in the Western Pennsylvania Conference and talked about his recent life as a pastor.
He admitted to being tired of the current troubles, and he listed all of them: pandemic, divisive politics, racial unrest, denominational questions. Then he said he was tempted to wallow in his angst.
I love the word wallow. Growing up in Smithfield and spending time in Princeton, I heard the word used much more regularly than I do now. To “wallow” is to roll around in the muck, to stay stuck in the dirt, to root around as a hog does. And I know the same temptation my friend confessed to knowing: I can (optimistic as I usually like to think of myself) wallow in the current malaise of our world.
But Jesus promises that we go through troubles: Even though I go through the valley of the shadow . . .Thou art with me. And, In this world you will have troubles. . but I have overcome the world. Witnesses by God and Jesus that we are to emerge from troubles to go into life.
How do you go from wallowing to passing through?
It depends where you put your attention. So,
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of this glory and grace.
(The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 349)
So, I invite you to renew your work to stay attentive to – to keep your eyes – on Jesus. For me that’s renewed attention to my devotional life and Bible reading. And, for me, it’s reading if not singing a hymn a day. (As you may have noticed from the quote above.)
Determine whatever it is that puts your attention on going through our current troubles. Then stick with it and we will pass through the valley into Life.
Thanks be to God who guides us through!
Wallowing no more,
If you would like to view past editions of Hello from Harvey, follow this link: https://capitaldistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/