This is not the time for giving up; it’s time for holding on

As Americans move inexorably toward the election, there’s such a sense of uncertainty, a sense of dread. Its palpable, isn’t it?

Almost every day some pastor, with apprehension in his voice, says to me: “What do you think will happen on November 3rd?”

I don’t know.

But then couple that apprehension with the COVID pandemic and the recent violence in so many of our cities over Black Lives Matter and the loss of jobs and the continued worry about, well, almost everything, and you have a recipe for tremendous stress, worry and lots of daily uneasiness.

Talk about a tough season on our corporate mental health. Whew…

I’ve lost track of how many times someone has said to me, “I’ve never seen anything like this in our country before.” Well, none of us has!

Today I spoke with a pastoral team of 10, and tried to offer them a little encouragement. To almost a person, I sensed their uneasiness about the coming election and Covid and their kids not being in school and who knows what else.

I could only remind them of what I try to tell myself…

Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my Kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36

Jesus’ kingdom is the place where we let him rule and reign in our lives. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,” Jesus said. I hope most of us can say “Amen” to that! We all need to keep praying, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven … .”

Paul’s words to the church in Philippi are another good reminder: “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21

Bottom line: Stay alert, friends. Remember, this is the day the Lord has made. Centuries ago, in his Rule for Living, St. Benedict said, “The first rule is simply this: Live this life and do whatever is done, in a spirit of loving kindness. Abandon attempts to achieve security; they are futile. Give up searching for wealth; it is demeaning. Come to a comfortable rest in the certainty that those who participate in this life with an attitude of compassion will receive its full promise.”

In his longest recorded prayer in John 17, here is how Jesus prayed for us: “I am not praying that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:15-17

And so, my friends, let us all settle ourselves day by day with these words of the good Apostle Paul:

“Be steadfast, immoveable, always giving yourself to the work of the Lord, knowing that your work in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58

May the peace of Christ be with you!