Never Be Afraid to Make a Comeback
“There is nothing as sweet as a comeback, when you are down and out, about to lose, and out of time.”
~ Anne Lamott
Well, here we are, December 2020, and all we can think about is surviving until the next year and hoping it is not as messed up and ridiculous as this one has been. Life is funny and weird in that sort of way. We want something to be great and while we say to ourselves (and whoever might be listening), “I’m not holding my breath!”, inside, we actually are holding our breaths.
We hold it in the way we refuse to make a tough decision until we have all the facts.
We hold it in the way we think carefully about making plans for tomorrow, never to mention next week, or next month.
We hold it in the way we hope for better days to come, the future will be better after all, will it not?
We hold it in the way we think to ourselves, “This won’t last forever.” and “Surely this will end soon.”
But alas, it is now December 2020, and a lot of us have been in this place of holding our breaths since March 2020. We have not made decisions, or plans, and we have refused to see the world for what it is right now by hoping and praying tomorrow, or next week, or next month, and now maybe next year, will be different – better. Because surely this cannot last much longer. Surely this will end soon and we can get back to normal.
Sister, I am not shaming you or making you feel guilty if this has been your position this year. We all had a tough time navigating these waters of COVID-19 and politics and elections and natural disasters. It has been a tough year for all of us, myself included.
But today, I want to draw us out of our hiding places, out of our long waiting lines, and into the open.
Draw us out and we will be drawn into the arms of the Lord.
Draw us out, and the lines get shorter, and we are free to make decisions, free to make plans, free to have hope today and not just for next year.
Who wants freedom? Who wants hope? Who wants it today?
Me, too, sis.
God draws us out of our hiding places
“…but the Lord was my support. He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me…”Psalm 18:18b-19
David being a great example of someone who had many life experiences where he appeared to be holding his breath. Anointed at a young age, David was put on a path that was far from fit for a King. And yet, amid all the hiding in caves, and all the running from the current King, who was out to kill him, David found himself being drawn “out to a spacious place”.
He tells us that “…the Lord…brought me out to a spacious place…”
While we sit behind our masks, in the confines of our homes, or rooms, or office cubicles, or car windows, we hope beyond what we see in front of us. We hope for a time when we can come out of hiding. We hope for a time when we can take off the masks, when we can breath fresh air and hug a friend, and laugh until we cough without fearful and angry faces staring back at us.
And while we need to abide by the mandates given to us, as good leaders and good examples of “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, we are still in a position as Christians to answer to the calling God has given us to “render unto God the things that are God’s.” (Mat. 22:21)
I am God’s. And therefore, I belong to God.
If you are God’s, then you belong to God.
Our faith in the Lord goes with us, whether in the caves, or in the rocks, or on the mountaintops. When we choose to look at ourselves as a body belonging to Christ, we can see with authority the anointing God has on us to “rescue [us] because He delights in [us].”
That information, sis, is all we need to know in order to step out into the spacious places God calls us to. Those places may look different right now. They may be online, or in the zoom meetings, or in conference calls or smaller, socially distanced classrooms and Sunday school rooms; but friend, we must come out of hiding and get back to living no matter the dangers we face in doing so because our God will rescue us because He delights in us.
God draws us into a life of faith in Him
“As he passed alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother, casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus told them, ‘and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
Going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat putting their nets in order. Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.”
My family loves Disney’s Frozen and Frozen II movies. In the second movie, Elsa hears a voice that draws her out of bed, out of her room, and onto a balcony. As she listens, she follows the voice around her home, and finally outside, where she confronts her own image in the lake:
“What do you want? ‘Cause you’ve been keeping me awake
Are you here to distract me so I make a big mistake?
Or are you someone out there who’s a little bit like me?
Who knows deep down I’m not where I’m meant to be?
Every day’s a little harder as I feel my power grow“Idina Menzel, AURORA – Into The Unknown (From “Frozen 2″) Lyrics.”
Don’t you know there’s part of me that longs to go…into the unknown?”
Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 11 Dec. 2020.
There’s just something about Jesus that makes people trust in Him and follow Him into the unknown. These days we do not see Jesus walking along beside us, calling us to follow Him. But He still walks with us, He still calls us out. The walking and the talking come from the Holy Spirit, and if we are in relationship with Christ, He will speak to us as we walk out our days with Him.
Sometimes, a lot of times, Christ draws us out of our hiding places and into a life of faith in Him. We were not meant to live fearful, complacent lives in Christ. We were called to the abundant life in Christ.
As Disney’s Star Wars character, The Mandalorian says, “This is the way.”
(Can you tell what I have been doing these past few months in quarantine? Lots of Disney+ movies and shows, my friend. That is how I stay sane around here.)
We owe it to ourselves to remind our heads and our hearts of the times when God has come through, times when we were fearful, times when we did not know the future, times when the world got dark around us and we had to squint to find the faint glimmer of small, shining light in the distance.
But, sis, we do not have to wait to live our lives until life “gets back to normal”. Christ calls us to follow Him into unknown territory, against the odds, against the fears, against anxieties of what could happen.
I know we are in the fourth quarter, there are only 10 minutes left, and we are down 21 to nothing. There is no hope of winning the game. But there is still hope of playing our hardest and giving it all we have, and leaving every bit of ourselves out there on the field, bloody and muddy, every piece of our body spent in our fight to never give up, never back down, to get up and come back.
Who is ready for a comeback?
So, how do we make a come back this late in the game?
Simply live, sis.
Life is different, and we cannot ignore the facts: we are confined to homes, behind masks, and distanced by everyone we love.
But, can we still live? Can we find a way to be a light shining in the darkness?
Of course we can!
We can go out, but we have to be careful.
We can reach out, but we have to be kind.
We can stand out, but we have to be mindful.
We can be drawn out, but we have to be hopeful.
Below are some ideas I have come up with that can help us allow God to draw us out, help us stand out, reach out, and go out of our way to make a comeback before we let this year knock the breath out of us and we end up having to get CPR at the beginning of next year.
I realize not everyone can go out much these days, but we all have to find a way to do so. Even if we do not go anywhere but our front or back porch, or the yard, or the mailbox. We have to get outside. Wrap up warmly, and go out. Walk down your street. Take in the fresh air. If you approach other people, put your mask on, and stay six feet away, but go out as often as you possibly can.
Getting out releases your tense shoulders and back. It forces you to breathe in the air. It puts you in direct paths with the sun, or the moon and stars if you are going out at night. Whatever you do, get out of the house. Often. Daily, I would suggest. You need that outdoor energy, sis.
Okay, maybe you cannot hug your friends right now, or even shake their hands, but you can reach out. Text them a virtual hug. Send them a card or note. Show up on their porch with cookies, leave them by the door, and stand out in the driveway as they find them and wave to you.
Friends, we all need this. Human interaction is important. God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.”(Gen. 2:18) It is not good for us to sit at home alone, or go out alone, or have zero interactions with humans.
We must make efforts to connect, somehow, some way, right away!
I myself am making cookies for my neighbors this weekend and will deliver to their doorsteps. It really is the littlest things that make the world a better place to live.
This one is tough. I do not want anyone to do something that goes against God’s ways, God’s plans, or God’s will. But, we have to stand out as something other than what everyone else is standing out for.
We cannot be the loudest voices in the arena screaming and spewing hatred into the political unrest of our nation. We cannot be the loudest voices in the arena screaming and spewing hatred into the medical field and governmental agencies who make the decisions that are meant to protect us – even if we disagree with them.
Our voice has to be the kindest one, the one bathed and drenching in the water of life, the one that believes in Jesus and the new Heaven and the new earth. We have to stand out for Jesus, not ourselves.
I have been reading in Isaiah this month, and one of the passages of scripture really hit me hard:
“This is the Lord’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person:
one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:2b
As we live in these days of COVID and politics, we will stand out if we are this kind of person. We will stand out for being humble. We will stand out for being submissive in spirit. We will stand out for standing up for the Word of the Lord.
Let us go out, reach out and stand out as one who loves the Lord and is drawn out by Him to be rescued from all the things that surround us. Let us not wait for another year, or another day, to get to the business of living and breathing again. Let us never be afraid to make a comeback.