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Pain and Promise: Jason Webb of Milwaukee Talks on How to Live in the Uncertainty and Cope with Isolation

Originally published on innewsweekly.com

These are strange days. COVID-19 has created a reality that few if any of us thought we would ever have to face. This type of scenario was for the movies, not real life.

Yet here we are facing so much uncertainty, so much unknown. We worry if we are going to catch the virus. We worry about our job security and our financial security. We worry about our kids, our aging parents, our friends.

So what do we do? How do we live in the uncertainty? As Christians, what should our response be? 

Here, Milwaukee-based pastor and public-speaker, Jason Webb answers these and more questions to help you cope with isolation and change.

Many well-intentioned followers of Jesus have gone to social media and told us to “just have faith.” They tell us that we don’t need to worry because we have already overcome and that God is working everything together for good. They tell us that the way through worry is to worship and that everything is possible for those who believe.

That is true. God does work everything for good. We are to have faith. God has and can do the impossible.

But it’s only one side of the coin. When we live only in the future, we ignore the present. When we only talk about God’s promises, we ignore the real pain we face. And we run from the very tension God is asking us to step into: the tension of pain and promise. The tension of what is happening and what we believe can happen.

You can have great faith in God, but also still be afraid. You can be confident that things will work out but still confused as to why they haven’t changed yet. You can cling to the promise that things will get better while feeling the pain that they are still bad.

This is life. This is faith. To know even though you don’t know.

So God is asking you, “Will you step into the tension?”

It’s what Jesus told us our lives would be like. That’s why he said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33b)

He was telling us “Don’t ignore the pain, but please don’t forget the promise.”

If we ignore the pain, we ignore our own humanity. Jesus himself was called a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” By running from the true doubts and fears and hurt that we experience, we run from a chance to connect to Jesus. We lose our opportunity to live in complete dependence on God. In the end, we stifle our growth. More than that, our hearts grow cold to the real pain of others because we cannot empathize with what they are experiencing.

And if we forget the promise, we lose hope. We become cynical and jaded. We assume that things will never change, that it just “is what it is.” Joy and peace will evade us.

We need both.  Pain and promise.  Reality and hope.

So will you step into that tension?

Here’s the good news, you don’t step into it alone. There is one who will walk through that tension with you: God himself.

In the pain, he will whisper his promise, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”

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