Down But Not Out (July 17, 2016)

It’s all been almost too much.  I can’t seem to shake this illness which affects different areas of my respiratory system.  Several friends have passed away in the last month or so.  Two more died this past week.  Another is fighting cancer and several serious diseases piled on top of each other.  A beloved teacher in my old hometown was murdered by her husband, who then took his own life.  My current wheelchair is not working so I’m using my old one, which has some problems but can get me around if I don’t press it too hard.  And I’ve started the painful process of requesting a new one from my physician and my insurance company.  I am fatigued beyond words.

I say it has almost been too much.  But it has not.  I may be down, but I am not out.  God is with me.  Christ sustains me.  I can do this!

Saturday was the celebration of life service for one of the pillars of our church here in Eureka.  It was also the service for my dear friend in Bishop who went to be with the saints.  And it was the day another church member here in Eureka went home to God.  His wife called me early in the morning to let me know.  I consoled with her, and made arrangements to sit with her during the church service later that day, where we hugged each other and shared our grief.

I recently watched a film about Mother Teresa called The Letters.  In it I learned that Mother Teresa suffered from what she called emptiness; she didn’t feel the presence of God within her, she felt totally alone.

I, too, often feel empty (not that I am, or could ever, compare myself to Mother Teresa), and I wonder if that is what allows me to give to others with such joy.  I feel a connection to God when I am serving others.  Perhaps not feeling God within her allowed Mother Teresa to see the face of Jesus in others.  Perhaps feeling empty allows each of us to serve as conduits, to allow the mighty force of God’s love to flow through us.  If things are going too well, perhaps we don’t think of God as much, and we don’t feel the need to reach out to others.  And perhaps we don’t rely on God so much.  Maybe empty isn’t such a bad thing.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:37-39

And that love empowers us to do more than we could ever imagine doing on our own.  We can dream dreams so big we can change the world.

Dear Lord, Thank you for loving us.  Thank you for empowering us to share your love and your message with others.  Thank you for giving us the desire to want to make things better, and the strength to see things through.  With your help, we know we can build your kingdom here on earth.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen

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