Last week I hiked from Headwaters to Circle Bluff. It was my first time in the Canyon since mid-March when we were preparing for the Spring Break retreat that we had to cancel at the last minute. I ascended the trail alone, feeling the tension between the sacred peacefulness of the place and the thoughts and emotions rushing and tumbling through my mind. Despite the beauty of the Canyon all around me—or maybe because of it—I felt tired and overwhelmed. Then, I remembered Jesus’ invitation, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
I have never needed that invitation more than now. During times like these, the world needs it too.
When I got to the top of the bluff, I look out over the bends in the river and all of Headwaters standing still and green below, and my heart felt like it would burst from the weight of everything we are all carrying. I needed release, so I sat down atop that cliff and wrote and prayed.
I felt surrounded by death and bad news. On bad days, I still feel it all around us, like it’s closing in.
I know that only God brings relief, only God brings hope, only God brings comfort and lasting peace.
I prayed that God will remind me of the Good News when I am flooded and overwhelmed by the bad news. I prayed. I know good news doesn’t cancel out the bad. They co-exist. Life can be hard and God can still be good and in control and all-knowing and the One whose ways are perfect and righteous and bent towards glory every single time.
God’s hand still holds us and the entire world during times like these. God still knows our days when they are confusing and heavy and interrupted and changing and often filled with disappointment and sadness—and our numbered days are still a precious reminder that life comes from God. Life is because of God.
My life is in God, so I am being made new even when I don’t feel it.
And often I don’t. I am angry, conflicted, exhausted, upset, hurt, but I am not just angry, conflicted, exhausted, upset, hurt.
God offers meaning and significance that doesn’t depend on my emotions or logic. God calls us to love him and love our neighbors because this is how we thrive in the midst of difficult times like these when we are so aware of what has been lost.
Oh Lord, help us to depend on you more each day than the day before — much more than is comfortable or natural. Lead us to be selfless, to look to you for all our needs, and to reflect your love and light and holy perfection to others through our brokenness. Amen.