As we approach Christmas and the beginning to 2023, it can feel like the weight of the entire past year is falling on us. The end of a year means change; school semesters end and begin, some people relocate, and we often travel to or host friends and family, which brings its own stresses. In ministry, Christmas time is an important season. This requires more volunteers, more space, more money, all in a time when everyone is feeling the pressure. We have also been living with the global effects of Covid for three years now. It all takes a toll.
Getting a new perspective
In the face of the holidays, I have been dwelling on the story of Elisha and the Arameans, in 2 Kings 6. In this story, the king of Aram is at war with Israel. He discovers Elisha has been telling the King of Israel his plans. He sends his army and chariots and horses to seize him.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.
16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
18 As the Aramean army advanced toward him, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, please make them blind.” So the Lord struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked.
The servant saw the real and present danger. But Elisha stared down the certain doom, knowing the Lord was with him. He remained positive in his faith, he prayed and God sent back-up. Sometimes, the best thing we can do in the face of certain death, or, more realistically, a mile-long to-do list or irritating extended family, is focus on the positive and trust in the Lord. Elisha helped his servant get a new perspective.
There is Always a Light in the Darkness
When I was going through burnout, I woke each day anticipating doom. This led to my life feeling full of darkness. The phone would ring and I’d imagine only the worst case scenarios. I was not seeing clearly—I was blinded by negative thoughts. I needed to change my mindset, and so a friend gave me this phrase:
“Today is a good day; I’m enjoying my life.”
As I said it, the darkness seemed to dissipate. The more I affirmed, the more I saw all the good—there are more for me than against me, I am loved, God is on my side. The issues were real and bad, but there was a way through. The sun will rise again.
- What/ who will help you see in the darkness?
- Who’s helping you see differently?
- What’s their voice saying?
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