2020 was a year that anyone might label as out of control. These ensuing years haven’t shown much improvement. We like to have things under control. Our problems begin when we both desire and expect circumstances to be under our control.
When we try to clutch the reins of this out-of-control ride we call life, we will get thrown from our mount and it will hurt.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults.” That’s more than 18 percent of the population 18 years and older. That percentage would likely skyrocket if it included those of us who struggle with worry, anxiety, and depression without ever telling anyone.
The stress of a pandemic and its aftermath—both economic (job loss, business loss) and psychological (isolation, fear, grief)—has left many of us reeling.
Over the last year, I often wondered, what’s next?
Fires. The entire Left Coast seemed to be in flames.
Massive storms. Hurricanes, ice, and political upheaval pummeled this nation. And woven throughout these events were notifications no one wants to get—news that another friend or relative had died. Even small losses like not being able to have dinner at a favorite restaurant or finding out a trip was postponed felt like a big deal—not unlike standing in a boxing ring waiting for the next punch to land and wondering if any of us would remain standing.
The Peace We Long For
So what do we do with these uncomfortable feelings? Some of us get depressed. Some ignore them or bury them under recreational drugs or more socially acceptable addictions like exercise, social media, and entertainment. (My personal favorite is a super-sized scoop of cookie dough ice cream—but that started before the pandemic gave me an excuse.)
None of these idols can ever satisfy. They keep demanding more sacrifices from us and delivering less satisfaction to us. Obviously they provide no lasting rest.
Each person who claims Jesus as The Way will say they believe that:
- God is good
- God is all powerful
- Jesus loves me
- Jesus lived, died, and lives again
- The Spirit lives in me
- The Spirit always speaks truth