Do you believe the Lord our strength in today’s world of troubles? The Word says it in Psalms 37:39, “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.”
What do we say and do in these troubled times? A time of trouble can make us weary, weak, and worried…or it can make us more discernable, determined, and strong in our faith. Many reading this column were taught the same lesson I was as a youngster… ‘It isn’t what happens to you in life that matters, it’s how you take it that counts, what you do with it – how it leaves you.”
Reading my devotion book, A Pocketful of Hope, before beginning my daily routine, gives evidence that God is our strength. These words touched my heart as I hope they do yours. “Let us not brook upon our dangers as if we alone in all the world were suffering, but let us keep busy about our home, our business, our community, our church, our nation – lifting the spirits of those with whom we come in contact. Become a ‘Spirit – lifter” – an “Ambassador of One” – with courage and strength, bearing your share of the world’s burdens, going about your daily tasks with uprightness of heart”
We have much work to do, we have a great task; time is of essence. These days of national crisis reminds us more urgently of the need for a strong America. We need a nation strong in moral character, strong in military might, strong in financial responsibility. This call for work and prayer. “Work as if everything depended on work…Pray as if everything depended on prayer!”
We believe in WORK, and COURAGE, and PRAYER…and turning our attention to doing our best in the days ahead, remembering always that from the Word of the Lord, our Bible, we have God’s way of saving America…old as history, new as today.”
These words from my daily devotional were penned by Mary Crowley and copyrighted in 1981. Remember the troubles of our nation in the 1980s? I do, as a working mother with two small children and a husband building a business in our new hometown – Clinton – that would become the greatest place in the whole world to raise our family and share our faith. I taught school, sold Avon and served as a territory supervisor, sold World Book Encyclopedias, and did home shows as a jewelry consultant. Cameron helped me bag Avon on Saturday mornings and do jewelry shows during the week. He would place the black velvet cloth on the table provided by our hostess and put the jewelry in place while I prepared for the show. Tim worked long days and nights building his insurance business.
The winter before Clint was born, we went with Charles and Mirjean (our neighbors) to cut wood. It wasn’t for fun; it was to stay warm during the winter. Times were tough in our home and our nation, economically. Therefore, we took action and worked together as a family to get through them the best we could. Using the fireplace for heating our home made good sense. So, we set off with chainsaws in hand to bring home firewood. Tim had the real thing; Cameron clinched tightly his toy chainsaw, and followed his Dad’s footsteps to the woods where troubles awaited us. I watched from a distance the accident that would keep Tim home for six weeks recovering and thanking God he was still alive after his chainsaw jackknifed and cut his knee. When we wondered what we would do, God already had plans in motion. He was teaching us to value life, to enjoy each day we have together without letting troubled times consume our lives. We learned what matters most in tough or triumphal times is keeping God first and trusting that everything else will fall into place.. Those tough years taught us to persevere, pray, and stay connected in love while trusting God to work it all out. And He did! We learned the value of family time, of faith, of family and friends, of leaving off some things we think we can’t do without (we can), of leftovers, of enjoying the good things of life but not being obsessed with having them, of loving deeply and putting all ‘our times’ in the Lord’s Hands. Have you also persevered through tough times? When we travel through tough times together in a spirit of love and seeking God’s guidance and help…we will never stay stuck in sadness, sorrow, or situations that steal our happiness and hallelujuahs.
With each passing decade, we have seen tough times escalate throughout the world God created, but we must keep pressing forward in faith. John 16:33 says, “In the world ye shall have tribulations: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” And HE has!
Let us unite as Christians, embracing these troubled times with prayer and purpose…sharing love and lessons of living connected to Christ… wherever He leads.
(Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.)