Finishing the Year with Faith

I’m sitting down to rewrite this–the wind is blowing, the rain starts and stops, and my children are home again. Honestly I’ve lost count of canceled days. Hurricane Delta is making its way into Louisiana. So, how are we supposed to finish the year with faith? It’s been a long year. COVID-19, racial tensions, the never-ending political cycle of us vs. them, hurricanes, and losing to Mississippi State in our season opener.

We could talk about faith and works, we could talk about mustard seeds, but my mind can’t stop thinking about Romans, 8:26-27, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (NRSV)

There have been so many sighs this year. Sighs over lost plans and days, sighs over the grief that comes with a pandemic and loss of life, sighs of resignation to things out of our control. There have even been sighs of frustration and anger. No one anticipated the year going this way. Those sighs, when made as a willful submission to God, can be a prayer, a prayer that expresses to our God that we are powerless and while we don’t like it, it’s ok. 

What then do we do with our faith? How do we hold onto it? Well, that’s the part that requires something from us. It requires us to relinquish the control we yearn for. So I encourage you to feel your feelings. Let the sighs out, whether exasperation, relief, peace, or worry. Let them out, and let them be a prayer. Our doubts and questions and frustrations don’t diminish our faith. Our God is not so flimsy that our sighs will break our relationship. Our faith is what allows us to be transformed. To turn our fears into love. To turn our doubts into opportunities. To turn our sighs into prayers. We will finish this year with faith, and through our faith, our willingness to let go of control, and sighs too deep for words, we will be transformed. ■

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30 Oct 2020

By Rev. Ali Young, Pastor of First United Methodist Church Gonzales

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