Friends, I’m spent. These last four months of social upheaval and cultural discord, and all the ministry adjustments that accompanied it have me worn pretty thin. Do you feel it too?
I was scrolling through Facebook early this morning – I know, Facebook? Yup, I’m barely relevant anymore – and within ten minutes I was a weeping mess, but not for any reason you may imagine.
I was not buried under an avalanche of heated memes or loaded gifs or accusing banter that discouraged me to the point of tears. Actually, it was quite the opposite. These top five posts, all in a row…
- I read the obituary of a man well known and deeply loved by my community.
- I browsed some friends’ photos depicting their Dad on a fishing adventure with his grandkids.
- I watched a video about police with the sound clip of Paul Harvey’s “Policeman” monologue playing along.
- I read a blurb about an elderly lady who fell in a grocery aisle, bumping a shelf and leaving a mess of shattered glass and splattered product on the floor, immediately joined on the floor by another customer and the store manager in gracious consolation.
- I worshiped along to a video of YoungMin You playing a rendition of “Reckless Love” on a piano staged in an open meadow.
These top five posts, working together in virtual harmony, somehow reminded me of the highest truth I could possibly believe these days.
I keep an old train ticket stub in my wallet with a quote scrawled across it:
“What is the best thing I can tell you guys to show you how much I love you?”
I borrowed it from Francis Chan. I pull it out and read it over and again when I’m wrestling with what to teach or preach or write. This morning I had to pull it out. Coming up on my deadline to submit this piece I’ve wrestled with what to tell you to show you how much I love you and love what you do for young adults across the country.
The internal conversation ensued…
Do I write again about a COVID-19 issue and this unending pandemic? This mask mandate around here has been pretty divisive for church folks. I bet we’re not the only ones. Should I speak to that? Do I join the diversity of voices weighing in on race issues in America? I really haven’t said much publically about it yet. But do I have the emotional capacity to go there right now? I could fall back on ministry principles? I’ve written plenty on that and folks seemed to like that stuff. I could talk about the Tri-cycle effect of identity development for emerging adults? That would serve them well…but would it show them I love them? Maybe another time…
Then that voice we cautiously call God’s – the one we seem to hear audibly, but really comes from the deep-hearted driving center of our being where the Holy Spirit dwells – that voice says, “Tell ‘em what I just told you earlier, after the Facebook posts.”
“That was you?”
The first verse I memorized after the “grace event” that found me surrendered to Jesus some 24 years ago was Galatians 2:20. It has meant much to me over the years. In short, it has become the Gospel message I preach to myself day after day; sometimes hour after hour when trials and temptations hit. I love it for lots of reasons, but most recently; as recent as early this morning, I love it because it tells me I am loved.
Yes, “God so loved the world” – this massive clump of wretched humanity that has lived with backs turned to Him – “that he gave His only Son,” Jesus, for our redemption (John 3:16).
Yes, “just as the Father has loved me (Jesus), so have I loved all y’all” (John 15:9).
Yes, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Yes, yes, yes; each of these never-the-less true, but each of these somewhat less personal in my low moments of utter depletion. God in Christ Jesus loves us, the world, plural, but does he love me, singular?
Listen in to God’s Word…
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me – singular – and gave himself for me – singular” (Galatians 2:20, emphasis added).
My friend, this was the highest truth I needed to believe this morning and I think it’s the best thing I can tell you now to show you how much I love you in this wearying season of ministry:
You are loved by Jesus.
You – singular – are loved by Him who gave Himself up for you.
ANDY WEEDA is Pastor of Emerging Adult Ministry and Director of LEAD Academy at Sunrise Baptist Church. His degrees are from Multnomah University and Western Seminary in Portland, OR. Andy and his wife Amy live in northwest Washington (the state, not D.C.) with their 3 kids. Together they love playing games, walking to the beach, reading, watching Disney+ and chasing a goal to visit every U.S. National Park. You can connect with Andy or read more from him on his blog.