The World, Worries, and God

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Photo by sebastiansantanam8qnfs on Morguefile.com

I’ve always been one to read the news.

My parents regularly read the newspaper and discussed local and national events. They encouraged us to follow suit (although I admit that when I was a youngster you would be more likely to find me pressing my silly putty into the comic strips and admiring my work). I learned quickly that the well-read person must be up on the latest happenings.

Up until fairly recently, on any given day I could describe the amount of drop in the stock markets worldwide, political and military moves between nations, and notable changes within society.

Now? I just can’t continue with such an in-depth reading of the news.

When I was much younger, television was the main source of our world news. It provided a small but limited window on these events, such as the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. With the rise of the internet, we have instant access to unlimited reports, tweets, videos, and articles. It becomes somewhat overwhelming and a job of its own to keep up with everything.

Too, as the world seems to become more chaotic and dark, I feel the need to lean more into God’s word. Although I still keep apprised of worldwide trends, my main focus now is reading the Bible and developing my relationship with Him.

The result is that by focusing on God’s word and His promises, I worry less than when I regularly looked around me at the growing chaos described in the daily news. As the world grows scarier, I know that God is still here. He is in control, and with Him, there is nothing to fear.

And that’s encouragement during uncertain times.

You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

                     –Isaiah 26:3-4

 

Being Daring (for the Small of Heart)

Photo by MichaelKirsh on Morguefile.com
Photo by MichaelKirsh on Morguefile.com

Awhile back, I was at one of the lowest points in my life.  Previous to this, I had taken my self image from my career and so couldn’t imagine what I would be otherwise.

When I injured my back, though, I had to take time off from work. Taking painkillers and lying alone in my apartment, I wondered if things would ever return to normal. The pain was excruciating, and my source of identity was gone. I spent my time having my own pity party and worrying about the bills that relentlessly piled up on my coffee table.

Through treatment and very light exercise, my condition gradually improved, but this was no consolation at the time. It honestly seemed I had nothing to lose as I was still unable to work.

Having healed enough to go out for short trips, I decided to go to the grocery store. Normally this particular store would play the typical muzak, but that night they were playing something a bit different. Walking down the baking aisle, I heard the beginning of “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

I was not a fan of 1960’s music, but I just couldn’t help but move (just a bit) and lip sync (only a tiny bit). Normally a shy and introverted person, I had been stripped of all my caring by that point and so just had some fun right there with the flour and baking soda.

Flash forward several years, and a similar thing happened this summer. Personal issues had taken me down, beaten me over the head, and left me to dry. I was overwhelmed and wondering what would come next.

Now a Christian, I turned to Jesus rather than an old song. I prayed and read His Word. I took His promises on faith because I really had nothing left. And I healed. Just like David, I could finally dance. This time not in the middle of a grocery store, but in my everyday-working-cooking-cleaning-baking life.

If only I could have been that daring and that willing to believe without such significant pain. But some of us are pretty darned stubborn and need a push into oblivion.

If I can encourage you right now, though, I would say be daring right now. Trust God and dance even on a Monday.

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Simple Pleasures

grant in paper box with quoteCats do seem to be wiser than us when it comes to many things. Rest, of course, is high on their list. All kitties seems to be unusually suited to relaxing at any time, depending on their mood and comfort. Stretching their paws leisurely, my cats will often blink their eyes at me as I go about my workday and then relax back into dreamland.

I have begun to wonder if we could learn a few things from our furry friends. After working 60+ hours per week for the past few weeks, I’m tired. I’m just plumb too old for this, I suppose. When I feel the weariness about my eyes even with a constant infusion of coffee on a daily basis, I know I need rest. That and those simple pleasures that we all take for granted as we get older.

I realized this yesterday when I had a bit of “down time” and lay down to read a book for a bit. So relaxed was I that I fell asleep for a quick nap. How I had missed that! Not exciting, that’s for sure, but pleasurable, especially for us old folks.

Life has admittedly become a chore lately. Maybe with a few lessons from my cats–and more time with the Bible–I can take my leisure and find some rest during busy times.

Joy in Trials

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. –James 1:2