"So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day." - 2 Corinthians 4:16
Lately, losing heart is a daily struggle. With each news story, each vicious exchange over social media or in the government, each incidence of hatred and violence, each lessening of environmental protections, it gets a little harder to keep heart. We find ourselves dreading the start of a new year instead of celebrating it. Paul also lived in challenging times: an empire occupying his homeland, time spent in and out of prison, and no sign of Jesus' return. Yet his letters are full of encouragement not to lose heart. "Our inner nature is being renewed day by day," he wrote. Not at the end of time, but each day, right now. Despite the waste that erodes our outer nature—greed, cruelty, judgment, sin—our inner nature is continually renewed with hope, joy, love, grace. It is easy to see the waste throughout our society. It is much harder to see the renewal. Yet when we stand with only prayer in the face of hate and bigotry, our inner nature of love will shine. The outer nature of fear and animosity will be revealed to be a waste in the face of courage and love. Through that courage, Jesus' promise is made incarnate now, the promise to bring good news to the poor, to let the oppressed go free. Through that love, our inner nature is renewed and we find hope again. May the New Year bring you peace and courage to continue the journey to renewal.
Prayer: Lord, help us not to lose heart. Let hate and fear waste away, while hope is renewed. Amen.