On the Sunday after a parishioner had seen me taking a walk earlier in the week down one of the country roads in our village she commented, “I saw you walking with your head down and you didn’t look very cheery.” “Huh,” I thought, “so now I have to be careful where I walk lest someone see me on a bad day.”

Even pastors have down days, depressing and sad days, and even hopeless days. I believe my wife thinks I might have too many of them at this point in my life. To be ‘down’ doesn’t have to mean you’ve lost your faith. It means that sometimes our mindsets and emotions negatively impact our lives. Even the Christian life isn’t all ‘hallelujah’ and ‘victory chants’. I think of the Apostle Peter walking on water, when his common sense took over and he saw the waves and began to sink. He was feeling down about that time and his only prayer was, ‘Help me.’

Last night a friend said to me that maybe Christians need to show their weakness more so that others can see we are frail humans who still trust in the goodness of God. If Christians are so upbeat all the time maybe others will judge themselves for being less ‘victorious’ in life.

Paul the Apostle had his own weaknesses, and life sometimes got him ‘down’ but not ‘out’, as the saying goes. We can be emotionally and even psychologically ‘down’ but our will can take us forward. The grace of God can empower our ‘will’ to move when our emotions aren’t enough. Faith is knowing that it’s going to get better because Jesus went there first, before us, to suffer and identify with us.

Unlike the parishioner who looked down on me, Jesus would say, ‘Hey, George, do you mind if I walk with you a while?’ That’s what Jesus did for the guys on the road to Emmaus and over the supper they shared, Jesus reminded them that it was going to be ok.

Paul once said, ‘When I am weak, then I am strong.’ (2Cor. 12) Maybe his admission of weakness was his cry from underwater for the help he was to receive. Read the Psalms. These were honest to God people who knew how to be ‘down’ and express it,  sometimes relentlessly, on their way to hopefulness and a better day.

We need to walk with one another and encourage one another. Sometimes we even need to have faith on behalf of others whose faith is faltering, standing in for them in their weakness.

I wrote this today because I was out walking with my head down, hoping someone who knows me and that I am a Christian wouldn’t judge me. So far so good. So consider this note as me standing in for some of you today. God bless.


That’s right. Nobody really, truly or accurately knows us. Not our spouse, lover, doctor, friend and most often we don’t even know ourselves. Oh people have opinions about what’s going on inside of us. We’re depressed, shy, angry, and sad among many possible traits. But none of those labels get to the heart of just who we are and what’s going on inside of us.

Sometimes we crawl deep within ourselves hiding, as it were, from the storms around us, even the people closest to us. We might put on a disguise of happiness or strength but inside we’re just little children crying for love and understanding.

Even saying we are a child of God says very little about who that child really is; what he or she thinks. No, I’m afraid that people are only guessing about the ‘me inside’.

I think King David was that way. We can read all about him and even analyze this shepherd king but the cries of his psalms tell us that he was at most times a lonely man living in the solitude of the castle he built around himself, running, hiding, fighting, and sometimes praising and giving thanks.

Take a look at Psalm 139 and you will discover that this is only ONE who really knew David and thus you and me. “Lord you have searched me and you know me.” Or as the MSG puts it, “I am an open book to you.” The whole Psalm labors this point. There is no place to hide from God. Not that God is angrily searching for us. No. Just the opposite. David’s Psalm is one of thanks that God does know him when others don’t.

Our Creator is our Supreme Lover having knit us together in the womb. This loving Father is even invited by David to uncover David’s offenses deep inside. Not even the most private caverns of darkness within our souls can keep us hidden from the loving pursuit of God. (Read this whole Psalm)

From the silent screams of our hearts to the highest praises of our lips God is right there with us. And knowing that my Lord knows makes all the difference in the world. Such love may not change my outward circumstances or it might. What matters most is that

THE GREAT I AM knows who I am.

By the way. In Advent let’s remember IMMANUEL means ‘God with us.’