“And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” – Mark 1:34-35

We were on the roof deck of the Quarter Café in Jerusalem talking with some Jewish Israeli peace activists. The talk had turned to sustenance—not lunch, but fuel. What keeps you going in this work?

I asked the question. I was hoping for quotable quotes. Preachers are always hoping for quotable quotes. Something deep. Something tingly. Something that will preach.

During the conversation, they’d all said things seemed worse now than when they’d begun. That’s why I asked the question—what keeps you going?

Nobody said anything for an awkward minute. Finally, a wiry women in her eighties spoke up. “I’ve been doing this work for fifty years,” she said, “and every morning I get up and I’m just f—ing furious!”

And I thought to myself, “That may not preach.”

The world’s suffering is immense, and the forces that profit from this pain are not about to let anyone come even a tiny step closer to fixing it without a deadly fight. So how do you do it, day after day, year after year? How do you hang in?

Maybe you are just f—ing furious. Maybe, like Jesus, you pray. It must be something. Something that makes commitment feel like a rational way of life on the inevitable days when you wonder if you’re a fool.

What keeps you going?


Give me something to go on, Holy God. Something to run on that won’t run out.

About the Author
Mary Luti is Interim Senior Pastor, Wellesley Village Church, Wellesley, Massachusetts.