This week’s devotion is not an easy one to write. We are still in the grips of a pandemic that shows no signs of slowing down. The economic news remains bleak for so many Americans who simply do not have jobs to go to or to look forward to returning to. Wildfires continue to burn, and storms continue to churn. Debates about whose lives matter rage on Facebook and kitchen tables, as we grapple with what it means to be a country that tries to live up to its ideal of liberty and justice for all. But perhaps what’s front and center on most of our minds in recent days is the outcome of the Presidential election. It is not an exaggeration to say that our collective pendulum of emotions swings as far left to right as the beliefs we hold. These have been hard days, friends.
Our kindergartners – 5th graders have been meeting over Zoom for Sunday school since our program year started in mid-September. The theme of our lessons this year is Our Journey. I chose that theme because if felt very apropos to these times. Each one of us is on a journey. Each one of us is, in some way, facing unchartered territory. Each one of us has been handed challenges that have forced us outside our comfort zones. We are experiencing uncertainty, grief, loneliness and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.
The Bible is full of journeys, too. In Sunday school we have learned that Joseph was on a journey of self-discovery as he emerged from the pit where his brothers thew him to assume a powerful position in the palace of Pharaoh. The Hebrew people were on a journey toward the Promised Land and freedom as Moses led them safely through the Red Sea. Young Samuel and Jeremiah were on journeys of their own – to follow God’s call to faithful living and teaching. And just yesterday, we explored the journey of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego as they were thrown into the fiery furnace for standing up for what they knew was right and not bowing to a false god.
These have been hard days, friends. But perhaps there are things we can learn from the journeys our K-5th graders have read about in the Bible that we can apply to our own journeys. God was faithful to Joseph and Moses. God calls us to action, even when we’re scared or unsure. Samuel answered, “Here I am”, despite feeling completely unqualified. God knew he wanted Jeremiah, even though he was inexperienced and young, to spread His word among the people. And God protected Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego when they stood up for what was right.
These indeed have been hard days, but we can find strength and comfort in a faithful God, a God who calls us to action beyond our wildest dreams, and a God who protects us as we seek to live righteously. The words God spoke to Jeremiah can speak to us, too. “Before I created you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart; I made you a prophet to the nations.” Let us live as Jeremiah and all those who journey in the Bible, trusting in God’s faithfulness, resting in God’s protection, and answering when God calls.