Devotion for January 15, 2021



Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9

It's easy to get stressed out. Personal, societal, religious, political, and general strife are constants in this world. In those moments I retreat inward and become rather grumpy and irritable. I've even been known to sigh deeply and say something along the lines of "what a time to be alive."

Feeling a sense of exhaustion in a divided and complicated world is not only common, it's normal. Plus, I am an extrovert. It's hard not being able to express myself during this time of isolation.

Yet, God reminds us that we are never alone. Again and again through countless verses in scripture God reminds us that God is with us. Perhaps this is most apparent when Jesus states at the end of Matthew's gospel that "I am with you, always, until the end of the age."

This is not to say that God is the puppetmaster controlling everything, but the one who constantly accompanies us in our daily life. God is present both in our joy and our concern. Our happiness and our grief. Our celebrations and our strife. God does not do this because God has to, but because God wants to.

In the beginning of the new year, I started doing a new kind of journal. Each evening, following my prayers, I write down one sentence focused on where I experienced God that day. Sometimes I write down a happy memory like a walk with Justin and Harper, while sometimes I write down something more challenging like talking to a friend who is going through a complicated divorce.

Regardless of what I write, this spiritual practice has shifted my stress and anxiety and refocused it (if only for a moment) into gratitude and peace. For that I am thankful.

Now, I wonder, what will I write about tonight?

Peace, Pastor Andy