Burden Or Blessing?
Here we are at the end of October, the 10th month of the year, the 8th month that we have had to deal with, contend with, battle with the coronavirus, COVID-19. Other issues have been revealed and swelled during this time to give rise to the inequities, inequalities and injustices of a broken world. There is much to complain about, much to get upset about, much to get depressed about.
But, is all that we are going through right now just a burden to be carried or is there a blessing here as well?
This morning, in my devotional and scripture reading, I spent time reading John 9, the whole chapter. John 9 dealt with the blind man who Jesus gave sight to. If you recall, we began this year with a sermon series based on John 9 entitled, "2020 Vision - Blind To Blessed". When God gave me this message in 2019 to preach at the beginning of 2020, I had no idea what we would go through in this year.
A pandemic. I was blind to that.
Having to wear a mask and stay socially distant from those who I care for and love so dearly. I was blind to that.
Racial and social unrest caused by the viral video of the lynching of George Floyd. I was blind to that.
Watching repeats of the senseless murders of people of color by those who are supposed to represent law and order, sworn to serve and protect. I was blind to that.
Political upheaval in the search for the next leader of this country. I was blind to that.
Having leaders dismiss the tragedies, blame the victims, and excuse the perpetrators. I was blind to that.
So much to complain about, to get upset about, to get depressed about, to be burdened by.
But, what about a blessing?
As I revisited John 9 this morning, I read the first three verses, "As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him."
The burden of this man's blindness was a blessing, an apocalyptic moment, a revealing and uncovering of the power of God whose time was coming.
Beloved, we are all dealing with burdens of some type. We are intimately dealing with or are at least aware of someone among our family and friends who are being challenged by issues in their health, wealth, and/or relationships. If given the details, many of us would shake our heads and say, "That is such a shame."
Beloved, is that all that we, as children of the Most High God, can do? Absolutely not!
God has been dealing with me about something, redeem the time. Redeem means to "compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something".
Said another way, redeem means to seek to right what is wrong. More to the point, to bring a blessing out of a burden.
Jesus redeemed us from our sins at the cross. As He worked a mighty work for the blind man, He has worked a mighty work for us through salvation.
It is time for us to redeem the time, our most precious asset. It is time for us to claim the victory over COVID-19 that I believe is going to come. It is time for us to claim the victory over oppression, segregation, and marginalization that I believe is going to come. It is time for us to claim the victory over inept and corrupt politicians that I believe is going to come.
It is time for us to redeem the time and expect for God's works to be revealed in the burdens we are bearing that can, with the power of God, become blessings.
And, it begins with each one of us making the decision to redeem the time that we have left on this side of glory.
Tragedy, crisis, disappointment is going to come. How will you use it? Will it be a burden or a blessing?
Think about it. Pray about it. To help you, I encourage you to reread John 9 in entirety. Or, go on the church's Facebook webpage, watch and listen to the sermon series again. If you do, I think that you may be encouraged to seek the blessing out of every burden you have in your life.
I also encourage you to connect for Noonday prayer today. It should be a blessing, not a burden. I also encourage you to listen to the radio broadcast on The Light at 3pm if you have time. It should be a blessing, not a burden. And, I also encourage you to connect for HOPE Wednesday this evening at 6:30pm. It should be a blessing, not a burden.
I also ask that you please lift up the whole church family in prayer, in particular the Rorie family in preparation for the homegoing service of Aaron "Toby" Wellman that will take place tomorrow. it should be a blessing, not a burden.
And, as you redeem the time, and claim your blessings out of the burdens of life, remember that God loves you and I love you too!