I am so tired of this pandemic.
I thought the hardest and most complicated days would be over by now. I was fine to isolate for more months than I wanted to do my part to make it go away. Then, when things began to open, I glibly expected we would continue to open back up all the way to normal.
Today, pandemic news is in-my-face as close as ever. The questions have multiplied, and the answers have been fewer. We are caught in unresolved delivery back-ups that are widening. We have a work force shortage not because there are no jobs but because we have a work ethic crisis. Add the catastrophic tornadoes, fires, volcanoes, earthquakes and arctic blasts . . . we are struggling.
I am struggling.
So what practice takes me through this maize? What points the way? As soon as I asked, I knew the answer: Continue.
Continue isn’t a glamorous word. It’s a pull-up-your sleeves-and-work kind of word. It’s a grit-your-teeth and push forward word.
It’s what Esther did when her dreams of a Jewish life and marriage disappeared as she was “taken” into the palace. She continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up. (Esther 2:20)
It’s what Solomon confirmed in his temple dedication prayer, that God would keep [his] covenant of love with [his] servants who continue wholeheartedly in [his] way. (1 Kings 8:23)
It’s what Paul told the Philippian flock to do when he couldn’t be with them--continue to work out your salvation. (Philippians 2:12)
Continue means don’t stop doing what you already know. Don’t give up because it’s hard or different. And don’t expect new or normal. Just continue.
Continue means don’t wait. Waiting is a waste of time when we’re supposed to continue. Besides, we know how to live and love and serve and grow. So just continue doing it, even if it looks different or feels different.
Continue is a good time to let roots grow deeper. Roots about faith in God over culture keeps us grounded spiritually. Roots about hope for the future God that has secured for us no matter what happens.. Roots that survival is based more on who God is that what a pandemic can change.
That’s where I want to live: continuing in the wideness of God’s mercy. Continuing In the embrace of His love. Continuing in His daily provisions for my day. Continuing with His thumb in my back and his whisper in my ear, “Keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t wait. Don’t be afraid. Just continue one step at a time—forward, always forward.”
Isn’t that what we all want? Progress? What if it depends more on how we continue than how we wait for something to change?
So I pray