Several years ago, one of the large major banks launched an advertising campaign for credit card products and their rewards. The idea was that the one thing you needed was their credit card. You might remember the tagline...it became very popular. The question was asked, What’s in your wallet?
I have no idea what caused me to remember that advertisement. It has been a long time since I have thought of it at all. As I was reminiscing, though, my mind moved to a new takeoff based on that old jingle...What’s behind your mask?
The past several months has been like no other in our lifetime. I think it safe to say we never imagined anything like this, even in our wildest dreams. To say the least, COVID altered plans, but we made new plans, and they were altered again and again. Washing our hands and using sanitizers and disinfectants took on a whole new meaning. We adjusted to wearing masks and ‘social distancing’ and how it dramatically impacts the way we are able to relate with each other. Just about the time we were getting the hang of all that, our nation was torn apart once again and now faces an additional challenge of hurt and unrest.
Literally overnight, the picture of our schools and churches also changed. Google classroom, zoom meetings, online lessons, live streaming, and countless other methods became the way we communicated and interacted with others. Pastors, teachers, and administrators scrambled to adapt and change at lightning speed in order to be able to embrace this new norm, barely skipping a beat in the process. Lutheran schools rose to the occasion and did an amazing job! The methods of implementing ministry changed, but the Gospel continued to be shared passionately and effectively in new and creative ways.
But what about you...how are you doing behind that mask you are wearing so frequently these days? It isn’t an easy journey. We have been stretched thin, maybe even to the breaking point. We are tired, maybe exhausted. Our hearts are heavy. We are hurting...for ourselves and others. We feel empty. We feel like we live in turmoil. We have a hard time finding our joy. Does it show?
There was someone else who faced struggles much greater than ours. We know Him. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that "For the JOY that was set before Him Jesus endured the cross and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
For the joy that was set before Him... That promise of joy is for us, too. God created each of us unique and special. He has given us the gifts and talents needed for His plans, and then He has called us into ministry. In that calling, He has privileged us to be influencers, sharing the Gospel message and impacting the lives of students and their families through our words and actions. That calling is not always easy, but the reward is amazing! God not only allows us to watch as faith is passed on, but He blesses us to help nurture and influence that faith. He allows us to share the joy set before us today and forever! We are eternally secure with Him!
As you look back on a year of unfathomable changes in life and forward to a new year of uncertainty, I pray you take time to be still in His presence, confident and secure in the One who has called you His child. It is through times of struggle and turmoil that our faith has the opportunity to grow even stronger as we trust Him more fully. Turn your eyes to our unchanging God who holds you securely in His hands. Find rest in Him. Refill your bucket and recharge your battery. Allow His love to overflow in you anew, filling you to the brim with His joy! That joy will be what others see behind your mask. There is no doubt about it!!!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace. Isaiah 55:12
Elinor Courvoisier, Emeritus Educator