Photo by Randy Milanovic on Unsplash
How do you get things done? Recently, I realized that anxiety fuels most of my work. Tornado energy, I call it. What other kind is there?
Mark alerted me the other day, “Honey, we’re almost out of toilet paper.” “Are you sure? I thought I just bought some!”
Alarm rang in my words. We were expecting out of town company later in the week. With fresh embarrassment, I remembered several Christmases ago when some special guests asked if we had any more toilet paper. Unfortunately, all I had to offer them was the last of the paper napkins, which they graciously accepted and then promptly drove their rental car to Safeway and restocked our supply.
My husband interrupted my thoughts. “Stand down, Private, it’s not a red alert. Hardly even a yellow one. Yes, I checked, and yes, we are almost out. If you want, I’ll pick some up.”
No. Holding up both hands, I assured him I would handle it. Crisis averted.
I can turn the smallest problem into a crisis. At that moment comes a burst of adrenaline that I’ve come to rely on to galvanize my energy into action. This works on all fronts–domestic and otherwise. I call it the “oh no!” approach to life:
- Oh no! We’re almost out of toilet paper (or clean underwear or milk or gas)!
- Oh no! I have to teach at 6am tomorrow!
- Oh no! The whole family is coming for Christmas!
My inner alarm rings and I’m off to avert the next crisis, whether real or imagined.
No wonder I’m often fatigued. Psalm 127:2 labels my malady and calls it futile:
It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Do you identify with the phrase “anxious toil”? Or do you find your energy from other moods? Angry energy works for some of us. Maybe you can clean your whole house on the power of a single argument with your husband. Or take ambitious energy. Just dangle a reward in front of you, Mom of the Year or Best Spinner of Many Plates, and you’re off and running.
Is there any other way to work?
Mark 16 has directed our attention to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This brief passage — only eight verses — emphasizes the utter shock produced in the first witnesses. The three women arrive, heads down, spices in hand. Their greatest hope was to see the body of their beloved. Their biggest problem was to move the stone away.
He is risen!
You can almost hear their spice packages thump to the ground. See their hands tremble. Imagine their words evaporate. With pounding hearts, their feet fly.
He is risen!
The greatest crisis in the universe, the death of God the Son, hasn’t been averted, but reversed. The Spirit has snatched the Son from the grip of death, raised him to Life as the first born of the New Creation, and exalted him to the highest throne in the universe.
He is risen!
This is the power of the resurrection. Next to it all other power pales. The power of nuclear warfare, the power of the latest technology–even the vaunted 4G network and new iphone SE are peanuts next to this.
And this is the power God wants to fuel our lives with today.
That may sound like a self-centered application of the resurrection, but it’s not. It’s Biblical. Listen to how Paul prayed:
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation…that you may know…what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places… . Ephesians 1:17-20
This is the power God wants to place in our hands. He wants to replace our anxious energy, our angry energy, our ambitious energy with his resurrection energy.
How? What does it look like? It looks like this: when the baby has a fever of 106 or the car breaks down or the boss dumps work on you or the husband fails to appear or . . . , before you jump into action, hit the pause button.
Now reread Ephesians 1:19-20. This immeasurable power of God is revealed to us by the Spirit and received by faith. Ask the Holy Spirit to show it to you. Seek the Father to work it in you. Ask the Son to help your unbelief.
Then act, confident that he is near and that he hears. He will help you work hard with his energy, just like he did for Paul.
“For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:29
Thank you for studying the Gospel of Mark with me! May you continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom Mark has helped us see more clearly.