12-7 Advent Devotional

Everything Awry

Susie Webster Toleno

Joel 1:13-20

Nehemiah 9:1-3, 16-21 

I am a Christian. I suppose that goes without saying in this context, but I repeat it to myself from time to time when I am faced with what seems like an interminable time of despair, worry, or simply waiting. Maybe you’ve faced those times, too, when all of your attempts to control outcomes, or to make something you’re sure is good happen, have seemed to be for naught. In those moments, I find that it helps to remind myself, out loud if necessary, that I am a Christian, a believer in God’s unending love and presence, a truster in God’s promises.

The prophet Ezra is speaking to a people who are in such a condition, who feel that everything they’ve done has got awry – whose hope lingers, but only in wisps. Ezra helps them through by calling them to remember who they are, and whose they are. He calls them to repent of their own hard-headedness, and to place their trust in God. He reminds them of God’s trustworthiness, of God’s mighty deeds and of God’s providence.

Prayer: As we wait for the Lord this holy season, may we remember God’s deeds. May we remember that God has given us bread from heaven and water from the rock. And in remembering, may we all know peace, courage, and patience.


Susie Webster-Toleno is an ordained UCC pastor serving a groovy little micro-congregation (Congregational Church of Westminster West, UCC) in rural southern Vermont in a half-time capacity. She is also a hospice spiritual counselor.

©2016 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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