For those Lost and those Found

daniel-jensen-UDleHDOhBZ8-unsplashImage by Daniel Jensen

I never actually read through, “ A Tale of Two Cities,” by Charles Dickens, but it could be that the first paragraph of the entirety of the book struck me so deep:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

My friends, we are currently living a tale of two groups of people, and the above quotations can largely describe what we are all feeling like as a nation.

There is a lot of anxiety and fear right now, there is a lot of people that are afraid of the virus and anxious from being out of work that they will not know how to provide for their family.

There is a lot of hopelessness too, and people who just cannot see how if there is a God why He would allow something so horrible into our lives and uproot us fully from everyday life.

There is a blame game of the origin of where the virus began, and also blaming politicians in every nation for not doing, “ more,” to keep it from spreading.

Fear is mostly the culprit in all of this though, because store shelves are not just empty locally but all over the world there are shortages of items that people just hoarded and some of it has no real necessity at the very present moment.

We laugh at memes, we watch news stories, we mock people who do this or did that…

But fear is the real deal, and we should really stop and just check on people daily or weekly, our families, are friends and our neighbors.  Everyone is going through some sense of fear right now, does not matter who you are and does not matter what you believe….it is real, and we are all feeling it.

We do need to further discuss what are healthy and unhealthy fears though, because there is a difference.

Healthy Fears:

I am someone with a history of pneumonia more than once in the last 5 years, and I have asthmatic allergies that can easily bring that on if I do not take an allergy pill daily, but even more so, I have a mother with Crohn’s disease, who I have seen go through more than several surgeries in her entire lifetime, and once with Mrsa that left her in the hospital for a good few months and we almost lost her.  When she goes to the hospital they place her in the cancer wing, because she cannot take any chances of infection happening to her body.

Which is why if she receives the coronavirus it would be really difficult for her recovery.

In this healthy fear though, we just do what we need to do to keep us safe.

I am working from home, I stay indoors, and I have chosen not to see my mother right now, or my friends that need to be away from people because they have other health issues, because I have been working call center and have been around other people that I am not sure whether or not they could have been carrying it, and where I live right now has more “presumptive,” cases then the entire county, and so it is wise to be inside and use precaution as now it is necessary.

People have said, “ I will not let this virus run my life,” but honestly, not everyone has that choice, and we can make a choice to protect other people just by letting our daily routines change for awhile.

Unhealthy fears:

This is also a time that people will be preyed on to create unhealthy fears, and I would say the media is a great example.  It is a virus, we are not living in bomb shelters, and a hurricane is not coming straight for us.  The parks, beaches, Disney etc, they were not closed because you can get the virus from sitting on a piece of grass, they were closed, because people do not know how to stay far enough away and not cough or sneeze on others, and apparently many do not know how to wash hands properly and let us not get started on people who do not know how to use a toilet property…It is the sad truth.

Again, I work in a call center, and I already know that once you hear someone cough, then what ever the virus is at the current moment will travel through the air, it is what happens when you work closely with people, or are too close to people who are sick.

Putting both of these fears aside I want to speak a little more on what I have observed as I have paid attention to people all over the world, and it is not something I know for fact, but is something I have often thought of through the course of watching this virus consume different parts of the world…

Personally, I believe according to my own faith that this is God’s judgement on our world, we can agree or disagree, but it is my belief.

When Donald Trump took office it revealed some deep rooted things in the hearts of the people everywhere, but especially in America.  I am not talking about because he as a person became the president, but the reaction and the response from people since that moment.

I was raised to respect authority, my grandfather would not let me have something unless I said, “ Thank you, May I, or Please?” My parents used to tell me that when I went out into the world I was a reflection of them, at the time I did not really understand that, but now I realize it meant that I am to be in the world who I have been taught to be at home. (No home is perfect, but there are morals and values that are good that all of us have been taught at some point.)

I was taught to stay quiet when adults around me were having a conversation unless it was important.  I was taught to respect people of all cultures and races, I was taught to have respect for the elderly and listen to their stories of the wars, and where they came from…

I am not saying by any means that our president is a stellar example of character, but I am saying if my grandfather was alive today he would say he may not agree with the man, but he would shake his hand because he was the president.

When I think of the authority over our nation right now I think back to the book of Daniel, and how because he honored the Lord so much that even though he was under the King of Babylon as  prisoner he still showed honor to him too, not because he agreed with him, but because he trusted in God, and God wants us to give honor and respect to all authority.

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;

wisdom and power are his.

He changes times and seasons;

he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise

and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things;

he knows what lies in darkness,

and light dwells with him.

I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:

You have given me wisdom and power,

you have made known to me what we asked of you,

you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

(Daniel 2:21-23)

King Neb (I can never spell his name, so we are nicknaming him), had a dream and asked for magicians and astrologers to interpret it, but they could not.  Daniel was able to interpret the dream because the Lord revealed it to him.  King Neb, fell down in front Daniel and worshipped him.

Daniel became honorary to the king and lived many years in the palace through king after king.

God does things to help his people rise up, He did not interpret Neb’s dream for the benefit of the king but for Daniel and the Jews.

It is possible that the church was never meant to be a building for worshippers that already know God, but possibly a place for those to go who do not, but want to know there is somewhere to find hope. As Christians, we are to rise up, and not waver under the fears that surround us all right now, we need to be strong for those who really are scared, and really cannot see hope from where they are.  We need to speak encouragement to people who have lost things during this time, jobs and graduations, ceremonies and other events that are not happening because of the quarantines.

People all over the world who are in quarantine are having time to sit and open their Bible for the first time, to listen to messages online, and people are praying who have never before.

We want them to keep reading, we want them to keep listening and we want them to keep praying.

“ If my people who are called by name, would humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I would hear from heaven and I will heal their land.”

(2 Chr 7:14)

God is talking to those who already BELIEVE in the verse above. Yes, he is mainly talking to the Israelites, but  He is calling US to humble ourselves, to pray, and seek HIS face MORE than we have in the past, He is calling US to turn from the ways we have allowed the world to influence us and PRESS IN, and from our example, we will then be able to teach others around us how to do the same.

Whenever God gives judgement He will also bring about grace through it.We will get through this TOGETHER, as long we all stay together.

LSOF: The Carried Burden

Driving down a desolate road last night with my man, we passed a girl walking.
It was about dark, and I saw that she didn’t have a vehicle close or place to walk to at short distance.
I told Mark to turn around and ask her if we could help her.
She looked so scared when we pulled up next to her. She was talking on the cell phone.
I put the window down and asked, ” Do you need a ride somewhere?”
She happen to be talking to her mom on the phone and pretty much threw me the phone saying,
” Please talk to my mom so she can get to me.”
I talked to her mom and told her that there was a gas station we could meet her at a few miles up.
As soon as we got off the phone the girl then asked if we could go back a mile and get her clothes
she had thrown in the bushes. We went back and got them.
I started conversation with her and asked, ” What happen to you?”
She started to tell me about a guy she met a few days ago, who wouldn’t take her home,
she also said, ” I’ve been doing this 6 years and never have had such a scary experience.”
Apparently this man she was with was planning on running off with her. She told me she practically
jumped out of the car.
I couldn’t help but be concerned with her ” line of work”, and I told her that if she ever needed a friend
or someone to talk to where our church was located. She immediately became defensive,
” I don’t need saving, I go to church.”
So I then told her that it had nothing to do with trying to save her. I told her that sometimes we just
need people to listen to us, and to understand where we come from. Sometimes we just need
encouragement.
She then said to me, ” I do want to get out of what I’m doing, I want to be a mom someday,
but it’s good money.”
I then told her about the rainbow. How we all have situations that happen to us in our lives
that make us choose to do certain things, but just like the colors in a rainbow
God can make it maginify tenfold and turn out to beautiful in the end.
She then said to me, ” I wonder if sometimes what I’ve been through, that there was a reason for it. Like maybe I can
help someonelse one day”
I said immediately, ” That is exactly the reason you went through it.”
She looked at me in shock…as if that was the first time she has ever heard that.
We met up with her mom at the gas station who probably said ” God Bless You” to me and Mark maybe 10 times,
and as the girl got out of the truck she said, ” If I ever write a book about my life,
You will be in it.” and she thanked me again and got out of the truck.

I am quite sure God poured a major lesson last night in that situation that happen.

I think we’ve all found ourselves walking on the side of the road in the dark in a sense.
I think we’ve all come to the point that we just found ourselves on a stretch of wilderness,
that we didn’t know why we had come to that point, but we had.

I was listening to two messages today, one from Grace Uprising and Seacoast and this verse was used in both of them:

Phillipians 4:11-13(ESV)

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I think sometimes we are so ashamed of the burden we carry that it continues to grow until we can’t carry it anymore,
until we have to “throw it in the bushes” until we can get back to it. Until we can deal with it again.

When the girl said, ” I don’t need saving, I go to church.” it broke my heart. I saw it in her eyes that she has been judged
before, and perceived Christians to be that way.
But we as Christians, we carry burdens too…and we have been where she has been in a sense.

We don’t share with others that we are dealing with “something” because we are afraid of being ” judged” even though
we are taught not to judge. We are taught it, yet we believe other Christians will judge still.

I have a friend who is a believer who did something that other Christians may look down at them for, and its something simple
and not a big deal, but there are people out there that would have other things to say about it. I know that,
she knows that.

I am glad I allowed God to raise me. I am glad that God taught me that there are people placed in my life to help carry my burdens, that we are here to help each other. We are here to share in the sufferings, and also the joys.

I wish so much I could have given that girl a hug and prayed with her last night. But I want to believe in my heart
that Jesus was there in that small time. I pray that she saw Him and not me talking to her.

The girl taught me a huge lesson too. She taught me that in the real struggles we face in life, that they are completely meaningless to what God has called us to do. That regardless of what we feel we haven’t accomplished, by doing as
asked by God…we can overcome the world with LOVE.

Thank you to my friend I met last night on the road. If I write a book, you would be written there too…
but you will also be in my heart, and I will continue to pray for you.
Remember…there is a reason you have gone through it…someonelse needs to hear your story one day…
Keep your head up.

Matthew 11:28
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

xoxo
angie