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Overwhelmed by the pandemic? God can help
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Overwhelmed by the pandemic? God can help

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Feeling overwhelmed? 2020 has been one of those years, hasn’t it? We all can list a plethora of things, mostly out of our control, that have encompassed us during this year.

Living as a Christian always has its cross. In fact, Jesus tells us we must pick up our cross daily and follow him. That is its own daily challenge. However, the feeling of being overwhelmed by 2020 is coming from outside of us. Mostly, it is out of our control.

If you are like me, you have cried out with the woman in Matthew 15, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!” The depth and beauty of that cry does not come in simply her crying out; it comes in her depth and maturity of faith.

She is not simply at the end of her rope, without hope (although she is certainly desperate); but on a deeper level, she shows us what faith consists of — the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Put in an impossible situation, affected by things out of her control, she noticed the longing of her heart and related it to Jesus.

In the person of Jesus, she saw the evidence of God, who is love. She noticed on a deeper level that God who is love would not turn his face from one who cries out to him in love. Notice in her words to him an echo of Jesus’ own words on the cross — “I thirst.” That is a cry of anguish spoken in a desire of love. She realizes that it is only God who can satisfy the desire of her heart. What is that desire? To be held in love. She knew God was the only one who could fulfill that desire.

So, she spoke that desire to him, “Lord, help me.” And he did!

2020 is out of our control. There is nothing we can do to fix everything. The cry of our hearts has more to do with the supernatural need we all have: to be held in love.

The catch is that we all like to try and take care of that ourselves. Again, if you are like me, you work very hard at managing your relationship with God. “God, I’m going to cut out television and wasted time on my phone so I can spend more time with you,” or, “I am going to pray more and try to avoid my sinful tendencies.” Those things are fine, but how is that working out for us?

God is a relationship of persons, not just some higher power to be managed. We were created to be in relationship with him. We are relational. Step one — humbling ourselves and realizing God doesn’t want managed, he wants you! He wants to give, everything! He wants to heal, nourish and provide for our need.

That big step forward out of being overwhelmed by 2020 is saying, “Lord, help me.” Say to God, in the moment it happens, “Jesus, I am feeling overwhelmed/anxious/stressed. I need to be affirmed/received/listened to. I surrender those things to you; you take care of it.”

By taking that step of noticing what is really on my heart, admitting that I cannot fix it, then relating it to God in the moment it is happening — Jesus will say in return, “Great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” Matthew 15:28

The Rev. Neal Hock is chaplain at the Newman Center at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

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