Greetings, Visitors and New Beginnings Family! If you choose, pour yourself a cup of coffee. Then pull up a chair for the latest edition of “Coffee with Gary” entitled “Worn, but not Worn Out.”
As a result of the hundreds of miles Linda and I walk, we have to buy new shoes every 4-6 months. In a six- month span of recorded and day-to-day walking, we can easily walk over 350 miles. Naturally, walking three miles a day on cement sidewalks four or five times a week is very hard on our shoes.
In effect, we wear our shoes until they wear out, determined by when they start hurting our feet. However, we consider the health benefits we receive from regular exercise far outweighs the cost of frequently buying new shoes.
God met every need for the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Consider having to meander in a desert where food and water are scarce, and raw materials to manufacture shoes and clothing are almost non-existent. Because God loved them and wanted the Israelites to know that He was their God, He provided them with water and manna from heaven. Furthermore, He caused their clothing and sandals not to wear out during those 40 years (Deuteronomy 29:5-6; Nehemiah 9:19-21).
I liken the Israelites in the wilderness to the dependency that newborn babies have on their parents. Without their parents directly providing for their every need, they will die. Likewise, the Israelites would have died in the wilderness if God had not directly provided for their every need. In essence, the Israelites wore their shoes without them wearing out!
When the Israelites entered the promised land, they began to provide for themselves as God blessed them with the resources to do so. Today, God still blesses us with the resources we need to provide for our families. Therefore, buying food with the money God provides is something over which we have some control. When my shoes wear out, God blesses me with the money I need to buy new shoes. God even allows me to choose the style and color I want! Then again, there are things out of our control, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
To say that I have COVID fatigue is an understatement. The politics, sicknesses, deaths, hassles, monetary inflation, and the daily drumbeat of COVID on the news all wear on me. Why? Perhaps it’s all these things that are out of my control that frustrate me, continually threatening to wear me out. Even the worry of possibly testing positive for COVID 72 hours before boarding an international flight to my daughter’s wedding wears on me.
Just as the Israelites had no control over their daily lives in the wilderness, so I have no control over the consequences of a worldwide pandemic. Just as God wanted Israel to know that He was their God, so too He wants me to see that He is my God! Therefore, I have to believe that God will directly provide for my spiritual, mental, and physical well-being in the wilderness of COVID-19. Things may wear on me, but I must trust that God will keep me from wearing out. Is God, who controls all things, trying to get the world’s attention through the COVID-19 pandemic? I hope so.
That said, thousands of first responders across the country are worn and worn out. They are quitting their professions at an alarming rate. For these people, COVID has been exceptionally hard with no end in sight. Long, demanding, and at times unappreciative hours have taken their toll on them. It is for them that the Church of Jesus Christ must pray: that God will encourage them, strengthen them, heal them, and give them rest. We must pray that by the Grace of God, they will not become worn out. They are blessings that God has provided to keep many of us alive in these difficult times.
Your fellow pilgrim in looking for a country of our own (Hebrews 11:13-16),