Nothing Is Too Hard for the Lord - Devotion for the Wisconsin Annual Conference
“The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel proclaims: Take these documents – this sealed deed of purchase along with the unsealed one – and put them into a clay container so they will last a long time. The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land (Jeremiah 32:14-15).”
When I was growing up, my parents would often remind me, especially when I was facing a challenge, that “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It was meant to remind me that I wasn’t alone. It was meant to remind me that I could turn my challenges of the moment over to God. It was meant to encourage me to hang in there. All of this, I have found to be true in my life and on my journey with God. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t face difficulties or challenges.
In the scripture from Jeremiah, the prophet has just finished purchasing the property at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin from his cousin. The irony is God has asked Jeremiah to purchase this property, just as the Babylonian army was tearing through the land, on their way to overtake the nation. In essence, this property that Jeremiah has purchased was, at the time, worthless. The nation was about to be overthrown. People were in a panic. Their world was turning upside down.
We are experiencing our world being turned upside down. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us into new realities. It has forced us to learn new skills. It has forced us to find new ways to be connected. It has forced the church to look at and review what it means to be the church (it is about relationships with God, each other, and the world around us and not a building).
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have started a new movement that has exposed the relentless and destructive systematic racism that Black people and people of Color have lived with for 400+ years. What all of us need to understand is that this systematic racism destroys the very soul of those of us who live in this country. It is time for all of us to reset our nation in a way that affirms everyone and ends systematic racism.
God invites Jeremiah to purchase this land, as a sign and a symbol; one day routines will return to a new normal. The invitation is for the people of faith, to live faithfully through the change, knowing that God is still at work. May we be faithful in this day, to work for justice, to dream of a new day where routines can return to a new normal.
O Loving God, the road sometimes feels long. The tasks often feel overwhelming. The change has been relentless. Help us to remember that you are here, leading us through these days. Help us to find our strength and hope in you. Help us to see that one day we will experience a new normal, because your hand has been at work. In the meantime, help us to be faithful, to work for justice, to help the church rise to the best of what you call us to be for this time. Thank you for upholding us, even now. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.