A cartoon by Gary Larson of ‘The Far Side’ fame: Two mosquitos have landed on the arm of their victim. One is so busy at the ‘filling station’ she doesn’t notice that she’s totally bloated, eyes bulging, and actually hovering while still stuck in! Her panicked friend cries: “Pull out! Pull out! You’ve struck an artery!”

Where, you may ask, did that come from? Well, emerging from our pandemic lockdown lairs, political panic rooms and cultural crisis pads, I’m thinking of the many times our information technologies were like that mosquito jabbing an artery, not knowing when to ‘pull out’ as it were. I mean, did you not feel repeatedly overloaded with the hideous, the apocalyptic, the cringeworthy, the soul-numbing in the past year? Did your ‘need to know’ reach saturation point? Are you apprehensive (twice shy) about what is coming our way? Are you left gutted by recent events and drained of vim/vigor/zip for the future? If so, there is refreshing news. Consider this ratio: a single raindrop is to the combined waters of the world’s oceans as the combined issues and iniquities of the world are to JESUS. (pause here, please, and allow this staggering morsel to download). We’re still celebrating the New Year’s ‘baby’ who, we are hoping, will somehow blot out images from the one that shall not be named, the one that just lurched, noisily coughing and sputtering, off the stage. But let’s not hang our hopes on flimsy, wishful thinking. We have been supplied with more excellent resources for engaging the twelve months of two thousand twenty-one. “We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection.” Hebrews 12:2 TPT

No, global problems will not just fade away in an instant. Yes, Jesus requires our linking arms with him to tackle some of those very heart-wrenching things. No, it won’t be easy or without sacrifice. Yes, he will serve up His joy in the doing. No, we won’t always be successful or feel appreciated by others. Yes, we will have constant, abundant encouragement and reassurances from him as we join in the work to which he recruits us. No, with the ‘now and the not yet’ in place for the foreseeable future, not all personal circumstances will be resolved per our timeline or to our full satisfaction. Yes, we will grow spiritual muscle as we lay down our arms and quiet ourselves in Jesus’ loving, near-presence, as we feed on his Word, and as we pray with, and for, one another. In my humble opinion, these ‘yeses’ far outweigh these ‘nos.’ And we have each other on this fully-provisioned journey into 2021! So, church, in him we have reason to be grateful and hopeful. He has a name! See y’all tomorrow at 10 AM.  PD

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