Have you ever sat and let your mind wander a bit? Things like, "Why is the sky blue and the grass green?" "Why does a round pizza come in a square box?" "Why are there black flies and gnats?" "Why does Governor Cuomo's facial expression never change even when he's talking about good things?" "Why are beer companies making hard seltzer?" "Why are Biblical names so hard to pronounce?" Sometimes our minds come up with interesting and off-the-wall questions and comments, don't they?
But if we're not careful, our minds will start wandering down deeper, darker passageways - "God, why am I here?" "What am I supposed to be doing?" "Did my sermon offend someone without me knowing it?" "Were my actions and words misinterpreted or misunderstood?" "Oh no, does someone think that I don't care?" "Did I not do or say something that I could have?" On and on we spiral downward in our thoughts and questions, and we get stuck in dark dungeons we have created and can't seem to find our way out.
I think it's safe to say that most of us have been there at least once in our lives. For various reasons we have found ourselves questioning our every move, our every thought, our every action and word spoken. "Why, God, why? Why are you making me go through this? What did I do to deserve this?" We sit alongside Job, who had lost everything he had, and lash out at God; we curse, we cry, we get mad. We're frustrated and just want things to end one way or another.
During this time of isolation and lockdown, things are looking like they'll never end and the temptation to fall into that downward spiral gets more and more intense. Things happen that you didn't plan on or even think about and you find yourself fighting a hard battle. I get it; I've recently been there myself. It's not a good place to be. But then God nudges your heart - through a letter from a loved one, a friend waving "hi" through the window, a bird singing in the tree, an unexpected email, a Facebook post. The key is to be open to God moving in your heart, and to remember who and whose you are. God loves us so much, beyond our full understanding, and never leaves us alone. When we go through tough times, our situations aren't necessarily going to right themselves miraculously before our eyes, but God is here to provide strength and the shoulder to lean on as we go.
If you do find yourself in that spiral or close to it, focus on God's love for you. Over and over again throughout the scriptures, God declares God's love for us: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you" (Jer. 31:3); "I will never leave you or forsake you" (Heb. 13:5); "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20). There is nothing we do, nothing we think, nowhere we can go, no emotional battles we face that God isn't right beside us. We all love to sing that children's classic, "Jesus Loves Me," but do we really think about the words? Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me!
Please also know that I love and care for each and every one of you, and am concerned for your spiritual and mental health as much as your physical. God has blessed me with two incredible congregations to serve; I am here for you. If there is anything you need, anyone you want to lift up in prayer, anything you need to vent about, or ask questions about, please don't hesitate to contact me - phone, email, text, USPS mail.
Remember - God loves you, and so do I. We will get through this together, leaning on God's strength the whole way.
PS - As a gentle reminder, on behalf of both finance committees and treasurers, please don't forget to send in your offerings and tithes. Even though we are not gathering, the bills still keep coming. MRUMC, please send yours to 32 Midline Road, Ballston Lake, NY 12019. RLUMC, please send yours to PO Box 485, Round Lake, NY 12151. Thank you.