Recently, my family and I went camping. We went to get out of the house. Camping was to let us stay out of crowds but still have some time to be away and rest. We have not camped in our camper since last year, but theoretically the trip was going to be easy. We just needed to pack, pick up the camper with my truck, drive to the campground, and try to enjoy nature. So here is what really happened: We got a late start with packing and driving, but we made it to the campground by late afternoon. In setting up the camper, we discovered that there was a terrible smell in the camper. It was one of those rotten egg smells. After some accusations, we discovered it was the hot water heater. While investigating that problem, I also discovered the sink was leaking heavily. We were not too deterred yet. We just cut off the water. I mean, it is camping after all. We ate dinner late and went to bed.
In the middle of the night, the power went out, which is not the end of the world but it was also storming. Everyone else had power in the campground, so I began to worry it was due to water reaching electricity. That is a big deal, so when morning finally came, I set about trying to find what was wrong. I had to venture out to get parts. During the first full day of our two day trip I repaired leaks, fixed a hot water heater, and solved the electrical problem. My wife and kids enjoyed their time swimming and painting river rocks. That night when I was done, my wife said she was so sorry I had spent the whole the day repairing things. I have thought a lot about that since. I was not sorry.
I think I was not sorry because there was a problem I was able to fix. I can fix a camper, but I cannot fix covid-19. I cannot simply get the right tool to make things better. I cannot get people back to work or heal all those who have suffered or died. I cannot fix racism or hate. I cannot bring back George Floyd or any of the other countless victims of hate. If this time of isolation has taught me anything, it has taught me that I can feel helpless.
My only answer is God. By the grace of God, I can do my part to keep others safe from covid-19. By the grace of God, I can help those who are out of work. By the grace of God, I can walk with those who suffer. By the grace of God, I can work against systems of racism and hate that still exist. By the grace of God, I can repent for all the ways I have failed to live into God’s call upon my life. By the grace of God, I can work for and anticipate the fullness of God’s Kingdom where sickness, sadness, and death will be no more. I can anticipate and work for the Kingdom where all will be welcomed, but sin and death will have no power.
I am trying. I am praying. I am crying out for God’s presence. And I am not giving up. God is not done with us either. There is more to be done. As I write today, I pray for every person who will read this little newsletter article. I pray that, if you feel helpless, you will remember God. I pray that during these difficult times, instead of wallowing in hopelessness or ignoring the pain of others, you will instead remember Christ who showed us that love can transform. I hope you will remember that God turned the death of Jesus into eternal life. I hope you will remember resurrection. I hope you will remember that God called us to carry the message of love and hope into the world. I believe that God can fix this world and that we are the tools.
Praying God will use me,
Pastor Jimmy Hendricks