Needing strength

I’m tired.

I’m not sure why. It could be the church merger, the familial worries of this past year, the strain of first time teaching, finishing the book, parenting an adult with a disability, twenty years at this job, or just plain getting old (I turned 55 this summer).

Whatever the reason, I hate the feeling. I don’t like being weak. I can’t stand feeling demotivated. The lack of discipline in this place is unsettling. I want my edge back.

I keep thinking that this is just for a season; that it will all come back. I’m sure it will. But I do still worry… and of course pray. The upside of downtimes is an awareness of your need for God. Which is probably why the Exodus story I’ve been reading this past week has felt so personal, and why every psalm I read feels like I wrote it.

Last week Fran found this 1964 photo of my maternal grandfather (‘Pake’) holding me (with my ‘Beppe’ beside him and my bother Alan on my mom’s lap).

john and pake

I keep coming back to this image… a 2-1/2 year old toddler in the arms of a 65 year old man; an icon of the God who has always held me. My Pake, my dad always says, was a huge fan of the theologian Abraham Kuyper (with his huge view of God, creation, providence and revelation). Loving Kuyper’s worldview as much as I do right right now I often wish I could talk to my grandfather about him.

Looking at the photo I’m reminded of my Pake’s huge hands. I’d totally forgot about them. He was a baker and always carried about him a kind of innate strength. He immigrated to Canada at aged 52 and started over! His faith (I’m told) was unshakeable.

I want to be like him.

This morning I read these New Testament words;

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV

The words, eternal encouragement stuck out for me. I was reminded of the true nature of my life; known by God before the universe came to be and created to know God forever. That perspective puts things in perspective. The encouragement I need today is connected to an eternal encouragement that God has spoken into my life, and calling.

For now, that is more than enough.