Not long ago a church member remarked to me that he had been doing the same job for the past 20 years as a traveling engineer, but as of late something had changed. People had become impatient, frustrated, even mean. My friend’s work was the same, but the people themselves had changed.
A similar sentiment was shared with me this spring in Jerusalem by a hotel attendant I’ve made friends with through the years. My friend works in the hotel lobby, helping travelers with anything and everything. While my friend’s job hasn’t changed, he said that the people have. They seemingly expect so much more than before, as though their cup is empty and they’re desperate to be filled up again, somehow.
Have you found the same to be true in your own circles?
Even as the pandemic is over, we’re still healing, still recovering. Along with physical death, we’ve experienced emotional and relational death. And yet confusingly, our shared trauma really had no clear endpoint. We didn’t have a set day of closure—a corporate funeral—to come together and grieve, process, and heal from what happened. So we’ve just sort of dealt with it individually, at different speeds.
Without closure, we’ve been left looking to other people to fill our cups, and when they don’t, we act out, because other people will never completely fill our cups (any more than we will fill theirs).
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Jesus told another group of weary humans. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).*
The ministry of Jesus lasted 3.5 years, about the same length as the pandemic. During those 3.5 years Jesus gently lifted people’s sights from the horizontal to the vertical—from the things (and people) of the world to the light of the world. With His own tender hands He cupped our tired faces and told us that He had come to heal us, to love us, to save us. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” (John 7:37). “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Jesus is still doing the same for us. Jesus is the fullness of our every longing, of our deepest heart desire. In Jesus alone we find wholeness, loving-kindness, and perfection. “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:9, KJV).
So let’s also lift our sights to the light of Christ; let’s also receive the living water of Christ, washing us, cleansing us, healing us. And let’s be a little nicer to the people around us, loving others as Christ loved us.
* Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts are from the New International Version.