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Shallow faith didn’t prompt the woman to walk headfirst into a crowd that had already rejected her. She believed.

I believe the reputation of the good work being done in our communities will increase not decrease, but it’s another day of overwhelming. Overwhelming thoughts and questions of direction like misplaced pieces of a puzzle scattered everywhere.

I don’t know which piece to pick up first. Some days I think I know. That one over there is so important. No, the one right in front of you is the one you need to pick up. No, no. Look over here. This one! And just when I think I know, the dog runs through the room and messes them all up again. I’ve been trying to carry this puzzle so carefully. The pieces are barely put in place when the wind blows the door open, lightening strikes and same dog knocks over the table.

I don’t know about you, but I never had time to catch my breath after the first word of crises, the really intense weeks of worry and strain, knowing people are counting on you, on me. Week after week has passed and the intensity has only increased. There is no decrease. I feel the frustration all around, on so many different levels, and I can’t underwhelm any of it. My hope is to lay a path to see the good work rise again, wiser and more compassionate we’ll be to our community’s needs, not less.

I don’t know if it’s fear coming at me, confusion or disapproval or support. Or maybe it’s none of that. Or maybe it’s all of that. I simply don’t know. I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, with my approach. I think I am giving people space to not agree and to try other ideas, to seek other solutions. But which piece do we pick up first?

“Come,” Jesus says. Come with your one thousand scattered pieces, with your one thousand scattered thoughts. Come with your impossible to-do list. Come without guilt when you drift back and forth between belief and unbelief, come between the day’s demands. Come back after you impulsively dart out the door. Doesn’t He understand we are trying to establish our faith and that doubt keeps getting in the way, keeps getting worse? Doesn’t He understand what it’s like to be drowning in confusion and anger and fear until we feel our spirits drowning, stifled and suffocating, dying?

But to the hopeless He says, Come. “The thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy. I come that they may have Life and have it to the full.”*

I am full of frustration and fed up. And still He says, Come. He says He is preparing a place for us**. He will come and take us with Him, that we may also be where He is. Now. Not somewhere off in eternity, but now–peace and order, healing and grace, here. He promises that place here and now.*** And he promises to give us His Spirit to help share His love with the world. **** Now.

These are the days I light a candle in the chaos. Todd says, “A candle? It’s still light out.” And I wonder if my understanding of faith has been dwarfed by stubborn, greedy, never-ending childish self-focus? I rant, I rage, I yell, I cry. But this too is prayer. I light a candle in the noise.

These are the days of confusing, the days of winter in the midst of flourishing green leaves and grass and the shimmering deep, deep green of water’s summer hue. Everything is being stripped away, bone bare like the skeletons of winter’s trees, before there can be any sign of new Life.

But new Life is just beyond the surface. Some moments, you can sense it, some seconds you can feel it beneath the dirt, feel it in the cloudy, stuffy air. New Life is coming and it will be all the more beautiful because of this despair, this desolation, this confusion.

Jesus knew when the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the next. He had carried His love for the world. He loved them to the end. This is the time for us to love and leave what we once knew behind.

I understand the father of the 12 year-old girl who was dying, who pleaded with Jesus to save her and then watched as Jesus focused His attention instead on the woman who had for 12 years been bleeding. She believed that Jesus could heal her. She believed He would bless her. And in the time that He healed and blessed the woman, Jairus’s daughter had died. “The crowd was wailing and mourning. ‘Stop wailing,’ Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep.’ They laughed at Him.*****

But Jesus brought the daughter’s spirit through death to new Life. And I must believe He will do the same for us today. I must believe that we are being guided through. We must believe. Will you join me?

(Scripture in order of reference: *John 10:8-10, **John 14:3, ***John 14:3, ****Acts 1:18, *****Luke 8:40-56)

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