November 27, 2016 • Life for Leaders
But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
In yesterday’s devotion I suggested that in our world of instant-gratification, we need a season like Advent to teach us how to wait. Advent is a season of longing for a Savior to touch our lives and heal our hurting world. Today, on this first Sunday of Advent, the prophet speaks of a longing for change — the desire for God to shape our lives amidst a world that often seems like it’s out to crush and derail us from following the One who came in the flesh to show us the way home.
Fannie Lou Hamer experienced many injustices in her life as a young black woman growing up in Mississippi in the 1960‘s. She was beaten by police for her peaceful civil rights work and was left with permanent physical damage. When her own Democratic Party refused to seat black delegates from Mississippi at the 1964 National Democratic Convention, she was allowed to speak before the Credentialing Committee. When asked why she was so fervently fighting for the rights of people of color she famously said, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
My friends who attend twelve-step groups say that the turning point for them to pursue sobriety was being sick and tired of thinking about drinking. Christian therapist and leadership consultant Henry Cloud says, “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.”
As we think about today’s Scripture from Isaiah, I want you to imagine a prophet who’s ready for a change. He is writing down his own holy dissatisfaction with how life is going for his beleaguered nation of Israel and his own spiritual life when he turns to God to ask, “Where are you?” The prophet knew that the world wasn’t how it should be; that his God, a redeeming God seeks change and to make old things new. So the prophet is asking God to send some help. He’s longing for God to show up and reveal his goodness. He is ready for change and he is starting to realize that this change might begin with him.
I hope on this first Sunday of Advent you’ll commit to being a leader who seeks to be shaped by God amidst the pain of cynicism and schisms that plague us. My prayer is that you won’t be so sick and tired that you’ll concede. Advent is a great season to lay yourself on the potter’s wheel and say, “Lord, change me!”
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Do you want God to show up in your life? Do you ever wish someone or something could just step in and change things for the better?
Do you ever get sick and tired of being sick and tired? The prophet is tired of waiting. Are you? What are you tired of? Are you waiting for something outside of yourself to change?
Advent is a season of teaching us to long for the right things in life. What do you long for? Racial reconciliation? Economic justice? Health for someone who is sick? If God were to answer one specific prayer this Advent season, how would this change your life or someone else’s life?
Please stir up within us a longing for a better world — a world where the color of your skin doesn’t make you worry, where no one is lonely and where our primary identity isn’t wrapped up in acquisitions or accolades. Even though we may be sick and tired of all the bad news that keeps coming our way, we commit ourselves into your hands as you shape us into people who will make a difference in a cynical and schismatic world. Thank you for never giving up on us and for the truth that you who began a good work in us will be faithful to finish the work until our Lord’s second Advent. Amen.