Truth and Mercy

My father once said to me, “Truth is what Jesus is; mercy is what Jesus does.”  He went on to explain that many people miss the mercy of God because they reject the truth of God.  So many people live in spiritual blindness to the wonderful bounty that is theirs for the asking.

Over the many years that I have travelled to and worked in Central Asia, there are always beggars found along the streets.  They are not hard to find.  They sit and wait for someone to drop a few coins their way.  When they see someone approaching they often look up expectantly, hoping they will be given something to ease their hunger of the day.

There is a story in Mark 10 about a beggar.  His name is Bartimaeus.  He was poor and he was also blind.  The story goes that one day Jesus came to the town of Jericho.  Bartimaeus lived on the outskirts.  When Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was walking by, he did not hesitate; he called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  There were those standing nearby who tried to quieten him, but he would not relent.  He shouted louder, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

We don’t know how Bartimaeus ever heard of Jesus, but one thing is evident; he knew who Jesus was, and he believed in what Jesus could do, so he called to him.  What follows is important for us to pay attention to:  In verse 49 Jesus said, “Tell him to come here.”  Next we read of the response by Bartimaeus as we see in that same verse, “Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.”  What is vital here to our understanding?  Bartimaeus knew he had a need.  He was blind and he was poor.  He also knew who could help him.  He believed Jesus to be the truth; therefore, he called upon Jesus for mercy.

In this world, you and I are the very same in a spiritual sense.  At some point in our lives we become aware that we are blind to the truth of what can satisfy us in this life, and we are poor in what we need.  Then there comes a time when we hear about Jesus.  Suddenly, our blind eyes are opened.  We believe in the truth of Jesus and we know we need His mercy.  We have a choice:  call out as Bartimaeus did, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Or, we can ignore the opportunity and remain in our blindness and poor state.

Take note that when Bartimaeus called, Jesus invited him to come.  Jesus didn’t say, clean yourself up first.  He didn’t say, you are not worthy.  No, Jesus said to Bartimaeus what He is still saying today — come as you are and I will make you whole.  Notice also that when Jesus called for him to come, Bartimaeus “threw aside his coat.”  In other words, he threw aside his old life, ready to receive the new life that Jesus had available to him.

In verse 52 we read that Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “Go your way.  Your faith has healed you.”  That incident is a physical picture of what is available to us spiritually.  We are all born blind and poor.  There is a void in our lives.  We try so many things to fill the void, grasping for something or someone to bring us lasting peace and contentment.  We search and search until finally, one day, we hear the good news that Jesus is near!  What must we do to be rid of all the burdens that weigh us down?  How can we be free of the confusion that fills our minds?  Like Bartimaeus, we only need believe and call out, “Jesus, have mercy on me!”  When a sincere heart calls to him, the answer will always be, “Your faith has made you whole.”

Jesus always takes us as we are; amazingly and lovingly, He never lets us stay that way.

Mountains and Valleys

Don’t you love being on top of the world!  The air is fresher, the beauty unspoiled.  Tranquility greets us at every turn.  We visit the mountains and tell ourselves that we wish we could live there forever.

A few of Jesus’ disciples experienced that very feeling when they were taken to the Mount of Transfiguration.  The story is recorded in Luke 9.  While there they saw Moses and Elijah.  Can you imagine their overwhelming excitement at such an experience?  They must have been about to explode with the thrill of it all.  In fact, in their enthusiasm, they had a suggestion for Jesus.  They said to Him in Luke 9:33, “It is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”   They meant well, but what they failed to understand is that God’s tabernacles are not stationary objects; they are meant to be moving.

You and I are God’s tabernacles today.  He lives within us by the very power of His Holy Spirit.  His desire is that all should come to understand and know who He is and that He can take broken lives and make them whole, no matter the scars already sustained in life’s battles.  God desires that everyone come to know that He can give all the strength they need, all the courage, all the wisdom, all the guidance, all the peace.   They only need come to Him, and you and I, as His tabernacles,  have the privilege of pointing the way.

If we all stayed on the mountaintop, reveling in the sheer excitement of what we experience there, and refused to go back down to the valley, then how would others know what God has to offer them?  You see, it’s in the valley that tragedies take place, where grief occurs, where pain stabs at our hearts.  It’s in the canyons of despair and the ravines of strife that Jesus longs to shine the light of His love and hope into all of life’s hurting places.

You and I are renewed on the mountain that we may then descend, sharing the hope and love of God Almighty.  When one life is changed in the valley, that they, too, may ascend the mountain, it puts climbing down every gorge into proper perspective.  Take joy in the mountain but never refuse the valley for it is there that the whispers of God are often heard best.

 

Upon This Rock

Before my father left earth for heaven, he told me that all his sermons, his Bible lessons, everything he had ever written, would be mine; he further said that he hoped it would be a blessing to me.  For those of you who knew my father and who were also blessed by his teachings, you will understand when I say that a million dollars would have greatly paled in comparison to the inheritance he left me in both his written teachings and in the example of the life he lived before me.

I often read and study his notes.  The revelation that God gave to him blesses me with encouragements for my own walk with God.  I was recently reading his notes on Matthew 16 and was challenged by the following which my father takes from John 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”  Following is a teaching from my father, Dr. Chuck Blair:

“Jesus had a conversation with Peter in Matthew 16:13:20.  There is a very interesting, and often misunderstood comment by Jesus, in verse 18.  Jesus says to Peter: ‘I’m going to single you out as a stone from the rock.  You are going to be my spokesman.  But Peter, when I build my church, I won’t build it on a stone — I need the whole rock.  I need all of you.  It will be upon the unified work of the church that hell will be hampered and that the program of God will be furthered.’  Take note that, although Jesus was speaking to Peter, He was referring to the whole of the church.  Jesus was not giving a charge to a single person; He was giving a charge to all of us.  Let us ponder further:

If I was the devil, and it was the unified movement of many stones coming together to make a spiritual house that would contain the power to knock over the purposes of Satan — what would be my primary goal?  TO CAUSE DISUNITY AMONG THE STONES!  If it takes the many stones coming together to make the one rock upon which Jesus will build His church, then what the devil wants to do is to keep these stones from coming together.

Now, we can look at every book of the New Testament from Acts onward and we will see one underlying problem in the church; it is the problem of unity.  That’s why Jesus prayed in John 17 that, ‘they might be one even as we are one,’ because Jesus knew that, in order for the church to achieve the goal of stopping the onslaught of hell, the church would have to be moving in harmony and in unity.

When there is no harmony and unity in the church, there is no power in the church.  When there is no power in the church, then the church cannot promote the program of God.  Now, some mistakingly read verse 18 as the gates of hell are trying to overpower the church, but that Christ will keep the gates of hell from doing this.   When we read it that way, it puts the church on the defensive, hell is on the offensive, and we are just trying to hold on.  Not so!  This verse is not talking about hell knocking over the church — but the church knocking over hell.  It is not talking about you hanging in there while Satan knocks you down.

This verse is teaching us that, if we will put our personalities aside, focus instead on coming together for the purpose of My (God’s) church and My (God’s program) and My (God’s) Word, then the gates of hell won’t stop it.

Why do the gates of hell appear to be stopping the church today?  Because, for the most part, we are not building His church; we are building our church!  Jesus is not going to help us build our church.  If we are building our church and not God’s church, Satan can do a number on us because Satan is stronger than we are.

If, however, we are building God’s church, then Satan has to take on Jesus, and Satan can’t handle Jesus.  Satan is always weaker than Jesus.  We must always be asking ourselves: Whose church are we building?  If we are building our church, then we are on the defensive; but, if we are building God’s church, then we are on the offensive.

If we are on the offensive, then it is not hell knocking us over as we struggle to stand up and fight; it’s us rolling over hell, for as Jesus said, ‘all the power of hell will not conquer it.’

I hope you have been as blessed, lifted up, and challenged, as I have been by this teaching. How thankful I am to my heavenly Father for having given such wisdom to my earthly father.  May we all stand together with the unified goal to build God’s church through the power of the Holy Spirit within us.  We are then a formidable force, allowing God to bring about His purposes in our lives.

 

 

A Little Girl’s Imitation

Recently I took a friend’s dog for a walk in a nearby park.  It was a beautiful day, and though cool and windy, people were out and about enjoying the  welcome sunshine and blue skies.  Teenage boys were kicking a ball, smaller children were swinging, older people were strolling about or sitting on benches, obviously enjoying both the welcome warmth of the winter sun and the sounds of children playing.

On one bench, there sat a young mother.  A buggy, with a very small and snuggly wrapped sleeping baby, was at her side.  A  dog on a long leash, tied to the buggy, was enjoying his sniffing pursuits.  A little girl sat on the bench next to her mother.

I noticed the little girls hands moving furtively in front of her.  It seemed a strange gesture.  It kept me staring.  What was she doing?  How odd.  As I neared, all became clear.  Her mother was knitting.  The little girl had found two thin sticks and she was “knitting” too, doing her best to copy the movements of her mother’s hands.  It wasn’t at all a bad imitation.  One day, I thought to myself, the little girl will no doubt be knitting for real, replicating her mother’s work.

That’s what happens to us in our spiritual endeavors.  We cannot display the character of our heavenly Father in our lives, unless we try.  We cannot know His ways and how to walk in them, unless we make the attempt.  We cannot grow in His wisdom, unless we practice the above.  We learn and grow stronger in the things of God by our resolute imitation of Him and His ways.

Like the little girl copying her mother’s knitting movements, we must imitate the ways of our Father before we can walk in the freedom of His ways, display His character in our lives, or recognize the wisdom of His guidance.  It all takes practice.  It all takes imitation to set us on the path to the real thing happening in our lives.

The Apostle Paul encouraged us in Ephesians 5:1-2.  “Imitate God in everything you do, because you are His dear children.  Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.”  

 

“Daaaaaaddy!” The Cry Came Again.

Last week I was spending the night at a lovely apartment that is located on a quiet street with a little lake on the grounds.  It’s always been such a peaceful place and I’m very thankful for it.  I love staying in this place.  On this particular night as I was sleeping soundly in my bed,  I was suddenly awakened by the cry of a child.  

“Daaaaddy!”  I stirred and strained to listen.  The voice came from the apartment upstairs.

“Daaaaady!” The cry came again.  This time I could hear the tears and fears in the call.  Then I heard hard footsteps running down the hall.

“Shuuuuut up!”  An angry voice shouted.  My body froze, breaths were shallow, nerves tight as I lay there stunned at what I was hearing.

The child cried out again and the voice shouted once more, “I said, shuuuut up!  Now!”  Silence.  Fear flooded my senses. I could feel my eyes staring wide into the darkness unable to blink.   After several agonizing seconds that seemed near an eternity, the footsteps returned to the other room.  I heard no more cries but I could not go back to sleep.

I lay there and prayed for the child.  As the minutes passed, my own nerves began to relax from its tension.  My mind wandered to thoughts of my own earthly father.  Never in a million years would my father have shouted at me to shut up.  Never would he have been filled with anger at my call to him.  He would have come quickly to offer comfort.  He would have sought to soothe my fears.  

I realize that there are many in the world who never had a father like mine.  Sadly, there are those who had a father like the one with the heavy footsteps and the angry shouting voice to “shut up!”  Such an angry earthly father could understandably mar one’s feelings toward their spiritual Father.

To those reading this, did you have a kind and protecting father or did you have an angry father that made you afraid to call to him for help.  If your experience with your earthly father was a negative one, may I encourage you that Almighty God is a Father of perfect love, at all times, and He invites you to call to Him at anytime.  Are you afraid?  Call.  Are you lonely?  Call.  Never hesitate.  Call.  He is on the ready to come to you.

He gave a beautiful promise to us in Psalm 91:15, “When they call on me I will answer; I will be with them in trouble.  I will rescue and honor them.”  

Never forget, whatever your experience with your earthly parents, your Heavenly Father is always there for you, holding your best interests in His heart — always!  Please call.  He will come.

Our Temporary World

We will all agree that this world gives each  of us a varied amount of difficulties. Some people, it seems, have more than their share of trouble. Any hardship is a potential precursor to the doldrums taking over. The blues can set in, replacing any peace of heart that was keeping us calm on the inside, no matter what was happening on the outside. Why, we may ask ourselves, when everything was going so well, did trouble come again? For some, it seems that every time an opportunity comes knocking, they open the door, only to have it slam in their face! Disappoint piles high. Inner peace fades and disappears.

Perhaps frustrations rise, not because of what we see around us, but because of what we don’t see. It’s so easy to take on the attitude that God’s not helping, rather than reminding ourselves that God uses everything to our ultimate good. It’s easy to listen to the lies of Satan who would say, “see, He’s left you to suffer alone again,” rather than to focus on God’s promise of, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thesalonica to encourage them in all they were going through. He wrote in II Thessalonians 3:5, “May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and the endurance that comes from Christ. Isn’t it interesting to note that throughout God’s Word, there is never a promise that God will help us to avoid trials, but there are countless promises that He will equip us with everything we need to get through them.

Jesus told His followers in John 14:27, I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” What exactly is Jesus meaning — His peace isn’t like the peace the world gives? To get the answer, we only need look around. What do you see? Things that are temporary. Everything your eyes look at today is temporary. At some point in the future, things will break, people and nature will pass away. The whole world is in a temporary state of existence. Therefore, it stands to reason that, if we look to anything the world has to offer us, at it’s very best, it’s only temporary.

Not so with Jesus! He is eternal. Therefore, everything He has to give us is eternal,too! He can give a peace that the world can’t touch. He gives love that never fades. He gives joy that stays strong in the roughest of life’s seas.  Everything to do with Jesus is unbreakable.

We have to live and work in the world everyday, but we must be careful not to focus on anything the world has to offer as a means of sustaining our inner peace. Remember, anything the world has to offer is temporary.  When we focus on the world more than on God, then a spiritual impairment can set in, blinding us to all God has to offer us; not only to endure troubles, but to get through with strength and joy — for all our days on earth and then into eternity!

It Started With A Peppermint

Today was a day for running errands; lots of errands, things that just couldn’t wait any longer.  My mother and I set off and began fulfilling the things on our to-do list.  One of our errands included a time of waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more!  Groan!  Would the waiting ever end?  Others were waiting, too.  It was a room filled with boredom, frustration, and growing tension.  Don’t you hate waiting and waiting with no apparent end in sight?

I was sitting on one side of my mother and a young man sat on her other side.  All seats everywhere were filled.  At one point my mother asks me for a mint.  I fish around in my handbag and retrieve a small wrapped peppermint.  She takes it and I pay no further attention.  I don’t see that the wrapper is difficult to open until I hear a voice say, “may I open that for you?”  It was the young man.

I leaned forward and watched as he quickly snapped open the wrapper and handed it back to my Mom.  “I didn’t touch it,” he said, “I’m holding it with the wrapper.

“Yes, I see you are,” answers my mother, “thank you so much.”

“It’s the little things that can be tough,” he said.

From that moment he and my mother began a conversation filled with chuckles and smiles.  Just listening to them made me smile, too.  I glanced at others sitting nearby.  They were caught up in the conversation and grinning at their lighthearted chatter.  There was definitely a lessening of stress in the air and it all started with the simple kindness of opening a peppermint wrapper.

Is kindness that important?  God says something about kindness in Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God though Christ has forgiven you.”

There is nothing in God’s Word that is insignificant.  It’s all equally important.  Therefore, when we have opportunity to obey God’s instruction to simply be kind to someone, we are honoring both God and our fellow man.  One simple kindness blessed, not only my mother, but everyone who could hear the ensuing conversation.  Many people,  who at first appeared as if boredom could be the end of them, were uplifted.  One by one as someone would leave, they would wave, wish everyone well, and we all happily waved and smiled in return.  It turned out to be a lovely afternoon.

There are many things that each of us cannot do, but all of us can “be kind to each other.”  We don’t know what’s going on in someones life, but it might be that a simple kindness could be the difference between hope and despair.  Kindness is never insignificant.

The Dog Whimpered and Quivered

Recently, at the animal hospital where my mother and I have the pleasure of working two days a week, a little dog was admitted who had to have one of her back legs amputated.  The surgery had already been completed when I arrived one morning.  I peered into the cage and was met with two deep brown eyes staring into mine.  Then I saw her body quivering.  I spoke some soothing words and walked away to tend to other things that needed to be done.

Some moments later, a sound of whimpering filled the air.  I looked around, scanning the cages with our various canine and feline patients, and discovered the whimpering came from our amputee.  I walked over and spoke words of comfort once more.  The whimpering did not stop; neither did the quivering.

Opening the cage, I began to stroke the little dog, speaking kind words, looking into her eyes.  After stroking the dog for several moments, she stood up.  I praised her for her bravery at standing on only three legs.  She took a step closer to me, turned sideways, and leaned her weight onto me.  I was so touched at this gesture of trust.  It was also a cry for help.  “Make me feel better,” I could almost hear her say.  Her entire weight was leaning against me.  If I had stepped away, she would have fallen to the floor.  I stroked some more and then gently pushed her back inside and closed the door.

Throughout the morning, every time I looked at the dog, she was watching me.  If I would come near, she stood in readiness for more stroking and leaning.  At one time I took her outside for a little walk.  She strutted around in great confidence, as if she didn’t know she was missing a leg.  She sniffed here and there with every appearance of dog happiness.

When I returned her to her cage, she licked my hand, then turned sideways again for some more leaning and stroking.  I obliged with great joy.  When the time came for me to leave for the day, it was with some sadness that I told her goodbye.  Of course, I couldn’t go without just one more minute of leaning.  It was a sweet moment for both of us.

I kept thinking about the dog as I drove home that day.  It came to me that we humans are not unlike the scared little dog who, as far as she could understand, went to sleep with four legs, and woke up with three!  How many times do unexpected things take place in our lives, leaving us perplexed, causing us to ask with no little amount of bewilderment, how on earth did that happen?  Perhaps the unexpected incident scares us and makes us fearful of what tomorrow might bring.  We discover that inwardly we are whimpering and quivering.

The little dog received comfort when she leaned close, putting all her weight onto me.  We can do the same.  The instruction is given to us in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.”  

When difficulties arise, it is a common, human response to try and sort through it ourselves.  We definitely lean on our own understanding.  While God has given us brains with which to think and reason, He has not made us infallible.  We are always capable of mistake.  Therefore, isn’t it best to lean upon Him who never gets it wrong, who has all the right words of comfort, who holds all the strength we need, who is the author of peace?

When we lean upon our own understanding, we are only subject to possible insight to solve our problems; but when we lean on Almighty God, we lean on the One who guides us along right paths, not some of the time, but all of the time.  When we lean on Him, His comfort floods into our troubled souls and the whimpering and quivering ceases to be.

What Did Joseph Do?

There is little known about Joseph, earthly father to Jesus.  He comes on the scene when we learn that he was engaged to Mary.  By cultural standards, Joseph was probably much older than Mary.  Mary, by contrast, may have been as young as 14 or 15.  The marriage would have been pre-arranged by the two families.  It’s possible that Mary had been promised to Joseph from the time of her birth.

Joseph would have grown up knowing that one day, Mary would be his bride.  We know that Mary was an honorable person.  We know this because the angel that appeared to her said in Luke 1:28, “Greetings favored woman.  The Lord is with you.”  She would not have been given such an accolade by God if it were not so.  Therefore, Mary had to have had a wonderful reputation.  We can imagine Joseph’s anticipation to marry such a good and well thought of young woman.

Then comes the shock of a lifetime: Mary confesses that she is pregnant!  In that culture, such an incident was considered a tragic shame upon the family; even a crime.  Mary could have been stoned to death!  What did Joseph do?  Even with his own broken heart, he did not want vengeance upon Mary.  He planned to quietly send her away to have her child, the engagement broken, and with the passing of time all would be forgotten.  That was Joseph’s plan but it was not God’s plan.

In a dream, an angel of God spoke to Joseph and told him to take Mary as his wife, that she had not been unfaithful; she was in fact, pregnant by the Spirit of God.  Wow!  What did Joseph do?  He believed God, and continued with the marriage plans.

While all this was going on, the Roman government announced that they were going to take a census.  Every man had to return to the place of his ancestral birth to be counted, along with his family, in the census.  Since Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem.  He took Mary with him.

Imagine the difficulty of the long journey.  Mary, heavily pregnant, rode atop a donkey all the way to Bethlehem.  Her time to give birth was drawing near.  Joseph went from hotel to hotel, but because of the census, the town was overrun with visitors.  There was no room anywhere.  We could understand if Joseph became so agitated that he questioned God.  After all, why would God lead them along such a journey if Mary was, in fact, going to give birth to the Christ-child?  It didn’t make sense; however, we see no indication of Joseph losing faith.  He did the best he could, being given a stable to house in for the night.  He must have made a bed of hay for Mary to lay in.  Then, the baby came.  Joseph delivered this God-child and prepared a bed of hay for Him, too.  As he had been instructed by the angel, Joseph named the baby, Jesus.

How perplexing it must have been, but Joseph believed God and trusted Him, even in the midst of such hardship.  At some point after the birth, the census complete, Joseph and his family were still in Bethlehem.  He was a carpenter.  He must have started a business. When Jesus was about 2 years old, Mary and Joseph and Jesus were living in a house.  (We know this from Matthew 2:11).  Joseph the carpenter was providing for his family.  Then, another dream comes to Joseph that will upset their peace and tranquility.

An angel appears in another dream, instructing Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and leave immediately!  Go to Egypt!  Imagine this incident.  Joseph has accepted Mary as his wife in the midst of her pregnancy.  He takes Jesus as his own son.  He has started his carpenter business, and what happens?  He’s told to pack up and leave everything because the King will attempt to kill Jesus!  We would have understood if Joseph protested saying, “Lord, I just can’t leave my business.  How will I provide for my family?  I have orders to fill.  How will it all look?  Isn’t there another way to keep my family safe?”  However, there is no record that Joseph argued with God.  What did Joseph do?  Exactly what God instructed him to do.  He left everything and went to Egypt, not returning to Israel until God told him to do so.

What a wonderful example we have in Joseph.  In the midst of all he did not understand, he chose to trust God.   In the midst of gossip that would have run rampant over Mary’s pregnancy, he trusted God.  In the midst of hardship, he trusted God.  In the midst of danger, he trusted God. In the midst of losing his business, he trusted God.

What was God doing in the midst of all this upheaval?   He was doing what He always does in the lives of His children; He was guiding, protecting, providing, and blessing with His own peace and courage, all along the way.

God hasn’t changed the way He works.  He still guides us today.  Even when situations look grim to our eyes, when danger lurks, when gossip fills the air, when friends and family betray us, when our future appears grey.  Our Father has us in His hands, holding us close.  He is always leading and watching over us.  He loves us and cares deeply about all our concerns.  He is our joy.  He is our peace.  He is our courage.  He is our Savior.  He is our everything to get us through anything.

How lovely that Jesus came.  How life changing to know Him.  Merry Christmas everyone!

 

What Do I Do About It?

I have shared before, what I call, the wisdom of Lucy.  Lucy Shockney is a dear friend whom I met in France where she and her family were missionaries for many years.  God has blessed Lucy with terrific insights into everyday life.  Recently she shared another nugget of gold.  She was talking about the difficulties in life that come to us all.  No one is exempt from hard times.  Lucy writes:  “If the question that plagues you is ‘why,’ knowing why doesn’t solve the problem.  The real question is, ‘what do I do about it?”‘  That’s the one that solves the problem, that refuses to submit to circumstances.  The ‘whys’ are a distraction.  The ‘what am I going to do about it?’ is the road map to greatness.”  I find her thoughts simple and yet profound.

It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of doubt, depression, and anxiety.  To ask why is easy and even understandable.  We want answers to our melancholy.  We want it to go away, so we ask why?  However, as Lucy pointed out, to merely mull over the why question will do nothing but distract us from the road to our liberation.  Indeed, it is in asking ourselves, what are we going to do about it, that the path to freedom from our despondency will be revealed.

So, what, exactly, can we do about it?  Two answers come to me.  The first has been a favorite of mine from the time I became a Christian.  It’s found in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and I will show you great and mighty things that you do not yet know.”  Isn’t the truth of that verse amazing?  The promise is: just by calling to Father, He will answer, and He will reveal truth to us that will aid us in our troubles.  It’s not a maybe or possibly so; it’s an “I will.”  Anytime God says “I will,” it is well worth our time to meditate upon that truth and follow it through.

The second thought that comes to me in regard to, what can we do about it, is found in Matthew 7:7.  Jesus was talking with His followers, encouraging them how to live successfully in this troubled world.  He said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”  I have listened with sadness to some Christians who have misunderstood this verse.  Some actually believe that God is being somewhat cruel, insisting that “keep on asking” means, if we ask enough times, He will answer.  Oh, my!  That interpretation is so incorrect. What would enough times be?  Five?  One hundred?  It’s absurd to consider that Jesus would be so callous to the things that hurt us.  That’s not how love works; therefore, that’s not how Jesus works.

So, what is He saying?  He’s telling us that every time we find ourselves in some situation of despair, then ask, seek, and knock.  He says to keep on doing this with every trial that comes our way.  With every new feeling of sadness or with every new burden that weighs us down, we must seek Him and His help.  We must so diligently ask, seek, and knock that it becomes a habit in our lives.

As Lucy reminded us, when we quit focusing on the ‘why’ and focus instead on ‘what can I do about it,’ then we put ourselves in the way of deliverance from all that drains our joy.  So, when troubles come, and they will, what can we do about it?  Call to Father.  Ask His help.  Seek His comfort.  Knock on the door of His guidance, and He will show you great and mighty things that you never even dreamed about.  It’s a promise.