Upon awaking this morning I noticed that the temperatures were already up to 56 degrees. The birds were singing and the rest of the wildlife was scampering to and fro in the meadow by the woods. They seemed to be saying that they were excited with the warmer weather and happy that spring is finally arriving after a long cold winter. In looking at the skies overhead, they now look like rain and as my daughter Abby just said to me “it will wash all the dirt away from the grass and everything will be clean again.”
Yesterday when getting out of the car, Will and Abby noticed flowers pushing their way through the ground. It was exciting to see new life wanting to return all the while snow surrounded the area they were growing in. The contrast was puzzling to me. Only inches away, flowers remained in the soil waiting under the weight of the snow to come to surface again, under the sun’s life giving force. These little flowers wait for the right time patiently and without anxiety. They know that in God’s time, it will be their turn to reveal their beauty.
Contrastingly, we as humans many times are fearful, anxious, and doubtful. We look at what surrounds us in our world and become overwhelmed by the events that we cannot control. We let anxiety rule our days and become afraid of the unknown. “Will we lose our jobs the way things are going?” “Is our world coming apart at the seams with all the earthquakes that are devastating other countries?” “Are we destroying our world around us so that our children will not enjoy what was given to us by our parents?”
Counselors tell us “we can control only ourselves and we cannot control what others do or say, and we cannot worry excessively about that which is out of our sphere of control.” But how and when does this apply to us when we are confronted with the responsibility for our surroundings and that of the world. We are faced with the morality of helping others in need whose lives have fallen apart, whether by their own mistakes or that of others. We feel that somehow we as a people, nation and world have to help those less fortunate than ourselves or we will all sooner or later reap our collective neglect.
Reading the newspaper and looking at the news on the television, one sees the devastation that seems to be happening all over the world right now and we feel anxious, helpless and afraid. Not only for ourselves do we feel this way, but also for our children and grandchildren as well. So, where do the answers lie in what we face today? Do we act like the ostrich and bury our heads in the ground and pretend all of this is not happening?
Do we say, “I can only do so much, and that is to take care of my family and myself.”
Where do the boundaries lie in having hope and yet realizing that action is also required as well?
|Finding peace in the storm|
When Jesus was meeting with his disciples for the last time before being arrested, he looked upon their worried faces. He told them not to let their hearts be troubled. In John 14 & 15, Jesus told his disciples that they needed to look beyond themselves and see what good was going to happen because he was going to the father. It was hard for the disciples to finally realize that there lord and savior was going to be beaten and be put to death. In their minds and hearts, I imagine they wanted to do everything to stop Jesus from going through this tragedy. The fervor to protect him was so great that later Peter drew a sword and cut off the ear of one of the people that wanted to arrest Jesus. Panic and anxiety were ruling the hearts of the disciples at this time. They had a hard time seeing beyond what their minds and hearts were telling them. All they could envision was that their worlds were falling apart and what they had hoped and believed would happen was now dissolving before their eyes. Fear, hopelessness, and anxiety ruled their minds and now they could not see what Jesus was trying to tell them.
Jesus said that we are the branches and he is the vine. He also said in John 15 that he prunes the branches that bear no fruit so that we might bear more fruit. I believe that to mean that he allows for us times of trials and crisis to show us our ways, and what needs to be changed and left behind for us to grow. With the disciples in their struggle to prevent the upcoming events, that is the hardships that they faced with Jesus being arrested and executed, Jesus knew before hand what would happen to each of them and he knew that by dying, the Holy Spirit (counselor) would come to help them and teach them God’s ways. Jesus knew that the Holy Spirit would be there for his disciples and for us and he would teach, guide, encourage and lead us throughout our lives if we choose to seek him out.
In John 16:33 Jesus says that in this world we will have troubles, but take heart he says, “I have overcome the world, . . . in me you will have peace.” So, where do we find answers to the difficult questions that we seek in today’s tumultuous world, it is in Jesus. He will guide us and lead us through these challenging times that we face. What we need to do is to take time to read his word, talk to Jesus, and when doing so, listen to him as well. Jesus will speak to our troubled hearts through his Holy Spirit. He will teach us and guide us if we take time to seek him out. “Jesus, here am I, teach me and help me for I have chosen to follow you now.”
p.s. Feel free to share this message to anyone that you feel God is leading you to send it to. Augie