We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King spoke these words in Washington, DC on a cold winter day. I believe their relevance goes beyond similarities to weather and place.  

As I've talked with those in our community directly affected by the shutdown there is something perhaps more challenging than missing paychecks--missing purpose. In addition to the loss of income, many are experiencing unsettledness (waiting on circumstances outside of their control), anxiety (over the work left undone), uncertainty (concerning the future), and the loss of doing the work itself. Our work offers to us more than money and somewhere to go Monday through Friday. Work offers a sense of purpose as we use our skills, joy of collaborating with others, satisfaction in seeing a goal move forward; along with dignity and appropriate pride--these are the greater losses experienced. While well-meaning folk may comment, "Must be nice to have all this extra time to get stuff done," in truth it doesn't feel that way. We were meant both to work and rest, yet, being put on 'rest' when you want to work feels different than a day off or vacation. We can slowly find ourselves emotionally and spiritually "shutting down;" feeling a loss of purpose, joy and hope.

This is where Dr. King's words impart strength. As people of faith our hope is anchored to something beyond today's circumstance. We understand that "The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will" (Prov 21:1). We understand that rooted in the Lord, we can 'bloom where we're planted' (in and out of season--Ps 1). We understand that all work (even cleaning and running errands) has value done for the glory of the Lord (Eph 6:5-9). We understand that suffering--and joblessness qualifies!--works to my advantage "knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rom 5:3-5). We indeed have infinite hope in our corner.

Please know that your leaders--elders, diaconate, staff--are praying that the infinite hope of Christ may strengthen you today.