Be encouraged

Our last blog entry for 2016 is written by Clare Maier, advocacy research intern for the Ottawa Office. Clare completed her internship just before Christmas.

For kids, some things can be hard to get through. Sitting through Math class just before recess is difficult. Waiting quietly while old people ramble before you can open your presents on Christmas morning can seem impossible. As a university student, fourth year seems insurmountable, and as an adult, it may seem impossible that the mortgage will be paid off before the kids are fully grown.

In the world of advocacy, we too get frustrated with delays and endless talk. Sometimes the solutions seems so simple and the complications so unnecessary. Sometimes groups may work for years to champion an issue or raise a concern with Canadians and with the government, only to have the government suddenly take interest, act like it was their idea in the first place, and then move in a totally different direction.

This frustration can especially be the case for Christians, people who understand the Biblical call of God to “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). This passage, along with many others in the Bible, makes it clear that true obedience and worship of our Saviour and Lord includes not only heart following and church-centred praise, but action stemming from our gratitude and love for God and for His people.

There are many, many ways to act justly and lovingly toward our neighbours. But my point with this reflection is not to motivate anyone to any particular type of action or advocacy. Instead, I simply want to encourage all people as they do their best to follow Jesus.

Encouragement can be especially needed during the long months of a Canadian winter, a winter which often feels like it starts in November and lasts until April, regardless of the presence of snow. As humans, we often seek the short-term goals and easy-to-grasp rewards. We sit through the six-hour car ride because we are heading home, or we work hard on a paper or food drive campaign because the goals are clear and there is a definite end in sight. We aren’t as good at just plugging away at causes that require long term commitment and where solutions are murky at best.

A winter storm in Charlottetown.  Photo credit/Canadian Press

Luckily, God has something to say about this need too. In Isaiah 40:28-31, God reminds us that He is the Creator of the world and He cannot and will not grow weary. He knows everything and can see the “endgame” even when we can’t and we are tempted to give up. God goes further, promising that all who wait on the LORD will “renew their strength,” soaring effortlessly like eagles and not becoming tired, discouraged or weak. This promise is extraordinary, and a great encouragement to Christians, especially those who feel like they are involved in the “front-line” of advocacy.

So, as we trudge through yet another winter, remember that as Christians and as children of the Creator, Author, and Great Protector, we don’t need to be able to see the end goal. As the prayer “A Step Along the Way” encourages us, it is not our job to bring about the success of our efforts. Our job is to “plant the seeds that one day will grow,” remembering “we are prophets of a future not our own.”

Therefore, be encouraged and rest easy this Christmas season.

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