“Return . . . “

Return, all of you who have turned away from the Lord;
    he will heal you and make you faithful.” (Jeremiah 3:22)

As I was shoveling snow from our new driveway in Virginia a few weeks ago, my shovel turned over some leaves that were near the edge of the asphalt.  I was very surprised to see that beneath the snow and leaves there was a clover plant growing!  It looked as though it might have been growing in the heart of the summer.  Then today, I noticed this dandelion blooming as I walked up the sidewalk to the church!

This is February in West Virginia, not Florida.  What’s going on?  The weather and seasons seem really confused and confusing.  Come to think about it, that confusion sounds pretty par for the course these days concerning a lot of things going on.

When I wondered about the clover and dandelion the word that immediately popped into my head was, “resiliency.”  I looked it up to be sure my sense of the word was correct.  To be resilient means to possess the ability to bounce back from some crisis or difficulty.  I think it certainly applies to the clover and dandelion.  They’ve survived some pretty hard, but brief hits from winter, yet have managed to endure, leaping back from whatever was dished out to them.

There’s a lot going on today that’s controversial, maybe even frightening and dangerous.  In some cases it’s almost as though some people feel permission to let some of the less loving and more negative thoughts and feelings for others slip from their lips and push them toward hurtful actions.  Certain messages in the market place have emboldened some to be less loving and tolerant, even more frightened and hurtful.  This is a slippery slope for us to continue upon.  We need to listen to the voice of God that is calling us back.  We need healing for our thoughts and actions.

We need to remember that God’s love is resilient.  We subjected Jesus to the worst we could imagine when we betrayed, beat, mocked, and crucified him, but God’s love allowed him to leap back to life.  God’s love is ready to call us back like it did when God said through the prophet Jeremiah, “Return, all of you who have turned away from the Lord; he will heal you and make you faithful.”  God’s resilient love can help us leap back from slippery slopes we might have begun to explore.  God’s love is resilient and can help us be resilient as we seek the way of our God, the way of justice, peace, love, and hope for all through times when other messages would attempt to shout over the voice of God.   I pray that God’s love will keep me resilient as I struggle to be a disciple of Christ, who calls us to love one another just like Christ loves us.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on February 1, 2017.

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