Just In Time

Being the Christmas time of year, my thoughts often drift back to yesteryears of my childhood.  I can remember our family decorating our tree.  I loved carefully placing each strand of tinsel; no tossing it on in wild clumps for me.  I reached as high as I could, and then either my mother or father would place them for me, just as carefully as I liked, on the higher branches.

One year my sister and I got out pieces of construction paper, glitter, glue, and crayons.  I could cut my pieces but my sister, much younger than me, needed help using her scissors.  Mom and Dad were there to rescue the project, helping to cut and glue where needed.  We could handle the sprinkling of glitter but I know it left a sparkling mess all over the table and onto the floor.  That was never a problem.  My sister and I cleaned it up the best we could, but Mom came along afterwards and miraculously got up every last dot of glitter which was strewn all over the place.

Of course, there was always the wonder and excitement of preparing Santa’s snack.  We baked cookies, poured milk, and left them on a saucer beneath the tree.  I always felt my sister and I had done everything, but of course, the measuring of the ingredients and setting the oven, was a task for my mother.  Both parents helped us throw lettuce on the lawn for the reindeer.  I felt we should put some on the roof, but I couldn’t throw that high.  Dad came to the rescue.  I remember thinking he must be able to do anything, after watching him effortlessly toss lettuce onto the roof.  How exciting the next morning to see crumbs left on Santa’s plate and only bits of lettuce remained on the lawn.

What a wonderful help when our parents interceded for us; a go-between us and the task at hand.  They always stepped in to help —  just in time.  That’s what Jesus does for us, too.  Just in time, He intercedes.  Just in time, He gives His strength when we are weak.  Just in time, He places his wisdom and guidance into our questioning minds.  Just in time, He breathes in His peace to ease away tensions and stress.

Notice Hebrews 4:16, “Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us — when we need it most.”  In other words, He will always help us — just in time.

How wonderful Jesus came to be born on earth for us, to offer us the best gift ever — just in time.

Merry Christmas everyone.



Diagnosis and Prescription

The IV pump dripped antibiotics into my mother’s arm.  A nurse stood near taking vital signs.  Another nurse brought tablets and poured a glass of water.  My mother swallowed them and lay back on her pillows.  Another day in ICU.  (Wonderfully, she’s home now.)

As the hours and days passed I spent a lot of time observing all the activity.  Patients being dismissed and others admitted.  One patient had fallen and broken a hip.  Another was a diabetic and having difficulties.  Still another admitted with pneumonia.  Doctors diagnosed and prescribed courses of treatment.  Nurses carried out the orders.  Aides provided comforts, brought meals, kept water pitchers filled.  Everyone worked together to give help to their patients in an ordered fashion.  Medicines and treatments were given as prescribed and in the exact time ordered by the doctors.

It was the above observations and timely help that took my heart to Hebrews 4:16, “Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”  Notice it says “when we need it most.”  Who determines when we need help the most?  God Himself; our Heavenly Father.  He is never too early or too late with His help or in the type of assistance He gives.  He’s always right on time.  He diagnoses correctly and prescribes with precision.  

So often along life’s journey we find ourselves in difficulties.  We ponder what to do but can come up with no apparent action.  We are baffled.  Perhaps we feel at our wits end.  Wisdom is needed.  Therefore, go to Him.  Don’t delay.  When you don’t know what to ask for in any given situation, call out.  Your heavenly Father will hear and He will answer.  A friend reminded me this week of another verse of great encouragement, Jeremiah 33:3, “Call upon me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not yet know.” 

We don’t always know the answers to what we need, but our Father has all knowledge and strength and courage and peace.  Just go to Him.  Call out.  He will answer.

When Giants Arrive

Many of you will know that I returned to the States this week to care for my mother who had been very ill.  She’s weak on the outside, but still the spunky lady within.   Two of her grandchildren cared for her until my arrival.  For all of you who are praying for my mother’s good health to return, I thank you.

It became quickly apparent to me, that besides not feeling well physically, she was stressed emotionally.  Two stray dogs had decided to take up residence.  My whole family love animals.  My mother and her grandchildren were all feeling sorry for the starving, thrown away dogs.  They reported the dogs to the animal shelter, and waited.  Meanwhile, of course, they were feeding the pitiful animals.  I will never understand cruelty to God’s creation.

My mother was sorry for the dogs, but added to that stress, her cat, Blackie, had left home. He had been gone for a week.  Obviously, Blackie could not face or do battle with the two giants that had encroached upon his territory.  I took over the search for Blackie, going out at meal times, calling his name, but to no avail.  I walked over to the barn, calling his name, but no results followed.

Finally, men from the animal shelter arrived and took the dogs away.   The handlers were so kind.  My mother was comforted by this, but now, where was Blackie?   I continued my search.  Last evening, just as dusk was covering the earth in shadows of coming darkness, I went outside.  My gaze travelled over the fields around our house.  Suddenly, I froze to my spot, straining my eyes, focusing on something black and white in the distance.  Could it be?  Was it Blackie?  I began to call his name.  The black and white something stopped, also frozen to the spot.  I called again, and this time the black and white something began to run in my direction.  Yes!  It was Blackie coming home!  I kept calling his name, and he kept running towards me.  He ran across the field, under the fence, past the barn, and up the porch steps.  He rolled over, inviting me to tickle his tummy, I made a great, joyful fuss over his return.  He, too, was making a great, joyful fuss over being back home.  Oh, what joy!

Blackie had been frightened away by the giant dogs entering his world.  He could not cope, so he ran away.  That’s understandable for a little animal in its physical world.  However, it’s a greater sadness for us in our spiritual worlds, when we, too, facing giants in our lives, decide the best course of action is to run away.  Perhaps some seemingly insurmountable something has arrived in our world.  It’s big.  We feel there’s no way out.  We begin to vacate, choosing ways to escape.  Perhaps we withdraw from family and friends.  We become consumed with our problems to the point that we withdraw from our heavenly Father, too.  Now, that’s the real sadness.

You see, our heavenly Father is the only One who has the perfect answers.  He’s the only One who knows the way out.  When giants enter our world, it’s not the time to run away; it’s the time to remember, as it says in Isaiah 59:15-16, “The Lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice.  He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed.  So He, Himself, stepped in to save them with His strong arm.”

Are you surrounded today by walls of difficulty, too high to climb over?  Are you running away from those you love because giants of impossibility have trespassed your peace and calm?  Do you feel no one truly understands?  Do you tell yourself that no one can really cares?  Then, please, look up to your heavenly Father.  I assure you; you will find Him looking back at you.  He wants to help you.  He has the strength that you do not possess.  Wherever you are today — will you listen to your Father?  He’s calling your name.  Run to His protection and guidance.  Run into His arms of strength and love.

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”  Hebrews 4:16