I’m done. The frustration and anger in my heart were almost palpable as I threw my phone the few inches from my hand to my table, thrust my body weight into the back of my chair, and rolled my eyes so hard I could have seen my brain. I. Am. So. Done.
It was nearing the end of a long day, in a long week, in what has been a long 2020, when I received a text that something I’d been working long and hard for—and even felt the Lord calling me to and guiding me through—was no longer going to happen. On a normal day, I probably wouldn’t have been nearly so bothered, but COVID days are anything but normal, especially when they come one after a confusing other with no end in sight.
Can you relate?
I should have been a good Christian and opened my Bible or paused to pray or something, but instead I quietly sighed the only words my tired mind could muster:
God, I feel like a rubber band that’s been stretched too far, too many times, and is now too loose to be of any use. I can’t keep bouncing back anymore. I’m defeated.
To read it sounds dramatic, but to feel it in your bones is as real as the air you breathe. I speculate that I’m not alone in this feeling, especially in the decision-filled, quickly changing, ever uncertain days in which we live.
Resilience. The ability to keep bouncing back after being stretched time and again. It sounds good in theory but has never been tougher in application. I thought I was resilient, but in my moment of yet another COVID defeat, I was just not sure anymore. Maybe you’ve been there, too.
In my frustration, I was reminded of Matthew 7:24-27 where Jesus spoke of two builders—one wise and the other foolish:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)
If I may, allow me to paraphrase the above in the Chi Alpha Standard Version: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise campus missionary who built his or her Chi Alpha ministry on the rock. COVID-19 came around; opinions, university rules, and doubt rose; and discouragement and confusion blew and beat against that ministry; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish campus missionary who built his or her Chi Alpha ministry on sand. COVID-19 came around, opinions, university rules, and doubt rose, and discouragement and confusion blew and beat against that ministry, and it fell with a great crash.”
It’s interesting that both builders constructed the house using the same materials. Both experienced the same destructive weather elements. One’s structure stood; the other’s fell. The difference? Location. Only the one built on rock stood the test.
To build on the rock is to listen to, abide by, and believe the words of Jesus. Friends, I believe that we have indeed built our ministries this way to the best of our earthly abilities; otherwise, we would not be in this mission at all. COVID-19 has come, uncertainty has risen, and we’ve been beaten and tossed about, but our ministries, families, and finances are built on the rock, where they will not fall.
Perhaps resilience isn’t about what we have within us, but about where we’ve built our trust. This shifts our paradigm from trying to muster up grit to simply abiding in the peace that comes with a rock-solid, sure foundation. While the storm rages, we are safe in the house.
How’s your heart in this pandemic season? If it’s great, I celebrate with you. If it’s decision-fatigued, frustrated, or feeling like a rubber band stretched too many times to bounce back yet again, the Lord invites you to peace. You’ve built on the Rock. Though you are being stretched (as we all are), stretched rubber bands can actually accommodate more than unstretched ones in the end, if you think about it. Perhaps this pandemic season is an invitation to dig deep into resilience so the Lord can enlarge our capacity for the Great Awakening that is to come. It won’t be easy, but He will be faithful.
Take heart today and rest in the assurance Jesus has promised—your life, family, finances, and ministry are on the Rock where wind and waves will come but not destroy. And that’s a promise.
“…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame,”Romans 5:3-5 (NIV, emphasis mine)
All views expressed on this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A., U.S. Missions, and The General Council of the Assemblies of God.