1. Schoonover-Shoffner, Kathy

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I have a confession. I'm weary. I continue to feel called to lead NCF and JCN, but I'm tired. I find myself fighting not-so-good attitudes.

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As nurses, it's easy to get in a funk. Work is intense, things go wrong, patients and colleagues can be demanding, students are challenging, school is difficult. We rest on days off, but don't feel rejuvenated. Some of us reach burnout, but that's not my problem (yet). I do, however, need to act and get off the road to burnout.


I've been talking with God about my heart condition. My natural mind reminds me that my traveling takes a toll, and it takes time to feel normal again (whatever normal is). My spirit reminds me I need restful times with Jesus-not the 15-minute Bible reading and prayer-but quiet, extended time in Bible study, prayer, listening, and waiting for God. I'm studying Romans with Bible Study Fellowship and recently decided to put myself in a quiet place and soak in his Word until I heard from Jesus.


The Bible study was from Romans 4, which summarizes Abraham's life. From Genesis, we learn that at age 75, God told Abram (later Abraham) to leave his homeland and travel to "the land that I will show you" (12:1, ESV). Abraham takes off, traveling about 600 miles north, with a side trip down to Egypt (12:4-10). God tells Abraham, even though he has no children, that he will become the father of a great nation and all families of the earth will be blessed through him (Genesis 12:3, 18:18, 22:18). God keeps making promises, and Abraham keeps trucking along through unbelievable hardships, year after year, with no children (Genesis 12-20).


At age 99, God gives Abraham the sign of his covenant: circumcision. Abraham circumcises all the men in his household, starting with himself (ouch). Still no children.


We are told, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness [emphasis added]" (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:22). This man was blameless before God? On the contrary, Abraham made huge mistakes (like saying his wife was his sister to save his neck in Genesis 12). How could he be right with the Holy One?


Romans 4 explains that Abraham wasn't righteous because of his persistence, obedience, actions, sacrifices to God, or even the radical step of circumcision. Verses 20-22 (ESV) relay:


No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."


No unbelief? No wavering? After all he went through for such a long time, how was it that Abraham remained fully convinced about God?


I hear Abraham calling through the pages of Scripture, telling me that I can keep believing. I can trust God despite my circumstances. Abraham trusted God and had a son at 100 years old (Genesis 21). He looked forward in faith to the promise of salvation in his descendant, Jesus Christ. I look back in faith to Jesus' life and death on the cross. By choosing to believe in what I cannot see and do not feel-God's promise of salvation-I, too, am made righteous (Romans 4:23-25).


Romans 5 (ESV) notes:


Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace, in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (vs. 1-5).


Through the same faith as Abraham, I can have peace with God. My challenges can produce endurance, character, and hope. Weariness does not have to defeat me. Yes, I need to slow down and learn to rest. But like Abraham, I can choose faith. I encourage you to trust God where you feel weary. Together, we can lean into God's strength and provision.