We know this above all things – your steadfast love endures beyond all things here on this earth and beyond this earth. We know this, and yet we still struggle. We know that we are your people, and we also know that you most certainly are our God. Although we know we can rest in this certainty, Lord, there is so much more that we are so very uncertain about – so much that we don’t know. So much to worry about that we sometimes find ourselves frozen unknowing what to do next.
God, we give to you the things we are uncertain about, because many of us truly don’t know what may be next in each of our lives.
We are uncertain about our jobs, our livelihood, the things which allow us to not worry about where our next meals may come from and keep us safe in the places we call home. We are uncertain about our health and the health of the ones we hold dear. We have lost some of our dearest people due to all kinds of illnesses, including Covid-19. As the numbers of those infected and those who have died continue to climb in the U.S. and around the world to levels we never imagined, we are uncertain about our own lives.
Although we pray we may stay healthy – we are uncertain about how much time we each have on this earth. We are uncertain about how to take care of those we love – knowing that we must stay away in order to care for one another. We are uncertain about what our world is going to look like in the next weeks, months, and years, and how it will change and become a different place than we remember.
We are uncertain, Lord. Deeply uncertain, but as we look toward this next week in the season of Advent – we look towards this week which encompasses joy.
We find joy and hope even in the places where there seems to be no goodness. We see the tensions in Venezuela due to the election. We worry as we see more than 300 people in southeastern India hospitalized with an unidentified illness. Our hearts ache as we see violence in Ethiopia, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. We grieve the losses, including at least seven people have been killed in ongoing violent protests in northern Iraq.
- Even as we see violence and our neighbors being hurt, we find hope in the helpers. And even more, we find joy in you, and in those making a difference even amidst terror.
- We see joy, Lord, in the faces that light up when a Zoom call is first opened and we see people we haven’t seen in a long time.
- We recognize joy, as we see people come together to lift up marginalized voices.
- We hear joy in our middle and high schoolers who choose to have difficult conversations about topics that matter.
- We feel joy as we keep going – as we continue doing some of the things we enjoy in an altered way.
We have joy and hope, Lord. And for this joy we are so grateful. We have joy, Lord, because it is you who gives us the joy that runs through our bodies. The joy that you are greater and can give us more possibilities than we could ever imagine. The joy that we can be absolutely certain, that even if our world may be breaking, our very bodies might be giving out, our jobs may not be there tomorrow, our dearest friends and family may be unhappy with us – even with all of this – we are absolutely certain that you fill us with a joy that will lift us up. Help us, Lord, to spread this unbelievable joy to every single person we meet – so that we may not hold this for ourselves, but so that this world might have a glimmer of your infinite and amazing joy.