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Monday, July 6, 2020

Faith to be strong


As I sit here drinking my London fog tea, I feel how the normalcy within my own life is encircled by a country and world that are shifting into something incredibly unfamiliar and uncomfortable.  I want to pretend that nothing has happened and that I am safely tucked away in my bubble of a life, but I can’t ignore reality anymore.  Whether or not America returns to some replication of the past normal that we knew, it seems safe to say that COVID and the following unrest has impacted us all in such a way as to leave a permanent impression.  


Life has changed in so many ways in a very short amount of time, shaking who we are as a community, state, country.  Suddenly I long to have the old America back—the one I grew up knowing.  The one I didn’t appreciate nearly enough.  For the first time, the imaginative picture of my life as an American has become unstable.  For the first time, I don’t know what to imagine America being like in months (much less years) from now.  

Although this situation is so different from any past experience I’ve had, it feels somewhat like déjà vu.  The oppressive darkness, seeming hopelessness, and chronic uncertainty are familiar antagonists that bring me back to one desperate heart cry: “Give us faith to be strong; give us strength to be faithful. This life is not long, but it's hard.”  Sometimes I feel so vividly that life is not long, but it is indeed hard…sometimes much harder than I feel prepared to undertake.  But when I remember to cry out for faith and strength that is not my own, God is there.  In the complex difficulty of life: God.  Capable of filling us with faith and strength even when all circumstances indicate otherwise: God.  
We may be fragile and weak, but our God is not.  Whatever happens is carefully held in His hands, everything occurring for a perfect purpose.   That is the truth I have to pour over myself when I begin to fear for America, my family, my future.  I do not cry out to an empty, helpless void, but to a God who can empower me to defy the impossible by finding peace amidst chaos.  

Give us faith to be strong
Father, we are so weak
Our bodies are fragile and weary
As we stagger and stumble to walk where you lead
Give us faith to be strong

Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong

Give us peace when we're torn
Mend us up when we break
This flesh can be wounded and shaking
When there's much too much trouble for one heart to take
Give us peace when we're torn

Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong

Give us hearts to find hope
Father, we cannot see
How the sorrow we feel can bring freedom
And as hard as we try, Lord, it's hard to believe
So, give us hearts to find hope

Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong
Give us peace when we're torn
Give us faith, faith to be strong

-Andrew Peterson


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