School teachers will tell you that as the days get “summerier” (not a word, but you know it: warm weather, beautiful sunshine and day dreaming in full bloom) the kiddos get antsy. Students know summer vacation is soon here. No more math, science and hall passes to use the restroom. Hooray, the end is near, but keeping everyone (teachers included) focused until the final bell is teacher’s toughest challenge.
I’m discovering it’s true with pandemics too. The end is near. We all want the last 14 months to be over. We all want to “get back to normal.” (even those who didn’t enjoy the old pre-Covid “normal” want to get to a new post-Covid “normal.”). We are all a little antsy. It’s been hard on everyone. We are hitting “the wall.” A recent Washington Post article was titled For some pastors, the past year was a sign from God it was time to quit (read it: here). The article doesn’t quote any pastors from my “tribe” but I’ve heard from friends who have talked a similar talk. This year and a half has been brutal and we want it in our rear-view mirror. More than a few of us, clergy and non-clergy, are tired. Dog tired. Maybe even “throwing-in-the-towel” tired.
Take a page from Jesus’ lesson plan. When Jesus was tempted, it wasn’t at the beginning of His time in the wilderness that the Enemy came to Him. It was at the end. “After fasting forty days and forty nights…” (Matthew 4:2). When Jesus was hungry, tired and worn out is when He was most vulnerable and when the old Snake took his best shot. Sound familiar? It should. We are nearing the end of our 14-month wilderness. We are weary, tired and like Jesus might be tempted to take a short cut to the finish line (or take an exit ramp) even though the end is almost in sight.
Can I be like a middle school teacher in the waning moments of the school year? I won’t threaten a visit to the principal’s office or detention. Instead, let me offer this encouragement: Keep going. Keep focused on finishing this Covid season well. It’s been a long 14 quarantine-y, pandemic-y, bundle of anxiety months. You’ve made it this far, don’t quit now! Take a deep, non-coronavirus-germ filled breath. Keep striving to be more and more like Jesus. Keep developing the fruit of the Spirit in your life (read especially: kindness, goodness and most importantly patience). Keep seeking the Lord. Keep falling back on scripture, prayer and Godly counsel of Christian friends. No short cuts. No sidetracks. No bursts of impatience or unkindness. Paul said it best: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9). The pandemic’s final bell is about to ring. You’ve almost made it through this storm. Give yourself an “A” (I’m an easy grader) and finish well!