Do you ever feel like the world spins madly on and you’re just a spectator trying to make sense of it all?
One of my favorite passages is 2 Corinthians 4:16–18. When I lost my mother about 4 years ago to a debilitating disease, I read this passage almost every day. These verses remind us that our sufferings are only momentary. They don't compare to the glory we will experience when we are reunited with Christ forever. This is an amazing promise. But I have to confess that residing on this earth and enduring whatever the world decides to throw at us next can be both challenging and discouraging.
My life frustrations started before the pandemic. I was mourning my mother, navigating a relationship with my widowed father, and coping with my own sort of midlife crisis. I found myself dealing with overwhelming grief, the loss of what felt like two parents, and feeling unusually restless. I reached out for help. I’m a talker, so I talked to dozens and dozens of friends about what to do next. I also took many prayer walks—asking God for direction about my next steps.
One morning in Carrboro, I sat down for coffee with my dear friend, Rik Gervais. I learned that Rik and I share a condition called “Restless Spirit Syndrome,” a term we made up. This condition usually affects people who have spent the greater part of their lives having many wonderful and exciting adventures, moving every few years, and meeting incredible people that help shape who we are. However, later in life, they often settle down in one space and try to put down roots. Rik said that people like us will always be vagabonds. It’s part of who we are.
However...he also said that restless Christians often have untapped gifts for initiating and serving in gospel ministry.
So, Rik encouraged me to get involved in a local ministry that I felt passionate about. I had been volunteering with a local Christian non-profit for three years, and he encouraged me to continue working there and looking for similar opportunities within the university community. Shortly after this conversation, at the age of 40, at the peak of the pandemic, I went back to work. I had no idea what I was doing, or where this path would lead. But over time, I found my work to be meaningful and life-giving. I will always be grateful to Rik for his pearls of wisdom and encouragement.
There is a wonderful unknown out there for all of us, no matter where we are in life. God is with us both in the moments and the years of suffering. He is our true comfort—even when we are feeling stuck, restless, or very close to hopeless. There were many times when I didn’t feel like God loved me or cared about me. Why else would He put me through so much suffering? But let me encourage you dear brother and sisters, God is our true source of rest, hope, and joy. I have so much more to write, but I’m told I’m limited to only 500 words.