Right now many of us are feeling very concerned–even fearful. There’s a lot of uncertainty in our lives right now as we face things that we’ve never faced before. But nothing about this life is ever easy. God never promised it would be. He did, however promise to never leave or forsake us. Because of this promise, we are able to see hope. Life can get little lonely when we get caught in a storm. The truth is that life gets a lot less scary when we realize we’re not standing in the storm alone. Even if we can’t get together, we can still be there for each other. “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give it a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; He won’t leave you.” (Deut. 31:6)
He won’t leave you.
After World War II, many American soldiers remained in England to help pick up the pieces of the war-torn areas. One of the most heart-breaking things that they saw in the aftermath was the number of orphaned children struggling to survive on their own. One soldier was driving through one the ravaged towns when he spotted a rag-tag boy with his nose pressed to the window of a pastry shop. He watched in silence while the cook kneaded the dough for a fresh batch of doughnuts. The soldier pulled up to the curb and walked over to the boy. Through the steamed-up windows, he could see the delicious-looking pastries as the baker pulled them out of the oven. The boy salivated and released a slight groan. The soldiers heart went out to the orphan and he asked, “Son…would you like some of those? The boy was startled, but said, “Oh, yes I would!” The American stepped into the shop, bought a dozen, put them in a bag and walked back to where the boy was still standing in the foggy cold of the London morning. He smiled, held out the bag and simply said, “Here you are.” As he turned to walk away, he felt a tug on his coat. The soldier looked back and heard the child ask, “Mister…are you God?”
In these trying times, remember to be generous. Share your love. There are many people in out lives who are hurting. And we are never more like God than when we give. “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son.” (John 3:16)
The days, weeks months and years fly by so quickly. Before you know it, it’s too late. Don’t let your words of love, appreciation and encouragement go unspoken or unwritten. How long has it been since you contacted your parents, your best friend, old friends long unseen, but not forgotten? Have you ever contacted a favorite teacher, coach or counselor and told them how much their influence their influence has meant in your life? Can you imagine what news like that might mean to them? With the isolation we’re facing today, now would be the perfect time to renew and maintain some of those relationships. And maybe even to start some new ones. With social media and the myriad of ways to connect with people, the opportunities are there for you to use. And if you’re not connected in that way, good old-fashioned phone calls or letters still work.
“Like cold water to a thirsty and weary soul, so is good news from a distant land.” Proverbs 25:25
In his book, Truman, David McMcCullough shared this story:
As times got more and more difficult, President (Truman), felt more than ever a need to see and talk to what he called “the everyday American.” And he always felt better for it. One evening in Washington, on one of his walks, he had decided to take a look at the mechanism that raised and lowered the middle span of the Memorial Bridge over the Potomac. Climbing down some metal steps, he came upon the bridge tender, eating his evening supper out of his lunch pail. Showing no surprise that the President of the United States had climbed down the catwalk and suddenly appeared before him, the man said, “You know, Mr. President, I was just thinking about you.” It was a greeting President Truman loved and never forgot.
We are living in difficult times right now. If God showed up where you are right now, would you be able to say, “You know, I was just thinking about you.”
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way…”(Hebrews 12:2) And so can we.
If worry were a sport, we’d all be the MVP of our team. Can anyone identify with this? It’s hard not to with our current troubles all around us. When we worry, we torment ourselves. No one else is making us do it. We do it to ourselves. When we worry, we allow ourselves to be consumed by actual things we can’t control and even potential situations that may never come to pass. Worry causes stress to our body, prevents us from getting a good night’s sleep, impacts our relationships, affects our appetites and prevents from doing the daily necessities of life. When we worry, we look for ways to cope. Many of us choose denial, others may turn to substance abuse or fall back into destructive habits they thought they had defeated. Most of us choose something. But they don’t work. The more we worry, the more it occupies our mind. And each worrisome thought is like throwing fuel on our “worry” fire. What we sometimes don’t realize is that we only have so much emotional, mental and physical energy to use each day. Don’t let worry burn you out. Pray and don’t let worry take over your life. And if praying isn’t your thing, try it anyway. What have you got to lose? “Worry weighs a person down, but an encouraging word cheers up a person.” Proverbs 12:25 Encourage each other and be encouraged in return.
I read this and wished that I had this kind of faith.
A grandfather was walking through his yard when he heard his granddaughter repeating the alphabet in a tone of voice that sounded like prayer. He asked her what she was doing. The little girl explained: “I’m praying, but I can’t think of exactly the right words, so I’m just saying all the letters, and God will put them together for me because He knows what I’m thinking.”
Anyone feel the need to start repeating the alphabet?
A story is told about a frail, old man who went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and young grandson. Every night, the family ate dinner together, but because of the old man’s shaky hands and blurred vision, he had difficulty eating. Peas would roll off of his spoon and he almost always sspilled milk on the table as he tried to take a drink. His son and daughter-in-law became very frustrated and decided to have him sit at his own table in the corner where they would’t have to deal with his mess. Because the old man had broken a dish or two, they gave him a wooden bowl to eat out of. One night, the old man’s son noticed his boy playing with some wooden scraps, and he asked him what he was doing. The boy answered, “I am making a wooden bowl for you and Mommy to eat from when I grow up. The boy’s parents were speechless and in tears. From that moment on, the grandfather ate at the table with the rest of the family, and somehow the messes he made never bothered them again.
As I get older, I occasionally find myself being more clumsy and drop things I never would have dropped before. I can’t imagine what it would be like for my friends and family (especially my wife) to feel the need to isolate me because of my old-age failings. We need to remember the words of Paul the Apostle, in Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”