Just a few days ago, we all welcomed in a new year. We were blissfully off the grid for a few days, but my impression was that we mostly collectively greeted 2022 with a sense of both relief and tentativeness. No one wanted to say, “Well, certainly things couldn’t get worse than 2020 or 2021.” No one wanted to jinx anything further. We’ve all been through enough. Just let the calendar turn. Be quiet. Let’s tiptoe into this one.
And certainly no one mentioned that there might be mountains in this new year. l know I didn’t expect to suddenly encounter mountains so quickly. This morning I read that in here in Tarrant County, Texas the Covid positive numbers have risen suddenly, since just mid-December to 35.38%, a pandemic high. What? In two short weeks, we’ve escalated to a pandemic high? Isn’t the pandemic sort of over? I read those ominous words four times today to make sure I was reading it right. If true, that’s huge. It feels mountain-sized, extra-large to me, discouraging and treacherously steep. We were just getting back to life and to gathering and being kind of normal.
Like many people you know, we know people we love who just tested positive for Covid and are struggling with all that means for health, others, school, work, parenting and more. I feel far away and behind a mountain of issues when my heart wants so badly to help.
Other mountains have emerged, suddenly, that I can’t write about. All I can say is some feel big, scary to me and like most things, out of my hands.
This morning, Jesus Calling, the devotional book by Sarah Young that I treasure and read over each year, had these words for me: I want you to try a new habit. Try saying “I trust you Jesus,” in response to whatever happens to you. Very funny, Jesus Calling book, asking me to literally practice what I preach. Hilarious.
No one said there would be immediate scary looming mountains in 2022. Do you have a mountain already? Did you drag one in from 2021 or before that? Do you have a mountain of grief? A mountain of anger? Do you have a mountain to climb just to achieve your new year’s goals? Maybe you have a mountain of financial trouble, health problems or worries you can’t let go of. Maybe your mountain is a relationship, a job or the lack of a job. Maybe you have a mountain of Covid fatigue, political weariness, church pain or something else you cannot control.
On my morning soul walk today, I was fret-praying over all the new mountains and some old ones. I heard a song I’d never paid attention to before. This was the line that caused my breath to catch, Why would I worry when giants come calling my name?
I missed some words after that because my breath was catching and then this, So I speak to the mountains, oh it’s time to move ’cause my God is bigger, better, stronger, greater than you. (Speak to the Mountains by Chris McClarney)
Sometimes prayers are answered over decades or lifetimes even. Sometimes prayers are answered beyond this life. Sometimes prayers answered immediately. Sometimes prayers are answered in a song.
Do you have a mountain or two in front of you already in this new year? I do. No one said we could ask them to move. No one mentioned that we can ask for God’s Holy Spirit to help us cope with whatever is before us. No one mentioned that our God is enough, always. Well, maybe they mentioned it, but I get spiritual amnesia sometimes, especially when the shadows loom large in front of me. I need reminding of what is true verses what I fear.
It looks like 2022 could be a steep climb. It looks like it might get scary. Thank God, we can speak to the mountains with faith because we have a God who dwells inside us, understands and provides.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor, Mosa to Keller, Pace and River. She sometimes shouts at mountains. To read more of her blogs, see upcoming events or to sign up for Cindy’s Inner Circle monthly email, go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com.