These past fifteen or sixteen months have been full of stumbles. When you consider how the pandemic has taken the lives of more than 600,000 Americans and impacted the health of millions more. COVID-19 devastated our economy, closed businesses, eliminated thousands of jobs, made it dangerous to simply be out in public, temporarily closed churches, schools, restaurants, movie theaters, sporting events and the list goes on and on…
As a pastor, I see so many examples of miraculous healing, but I also witnessed more situations where a miraculous healing was wished for, prayed for but the answer was not what was hoped for. One example happened many years ago in a small town near Amelia, Virginia.
Years ago, someone sent me several emails, no one ever wants to see. “I know I just sent in a prayer request, but I am scared. I am not afraid to die. I am afraid to live!” She shared a poem illustrating the darkness and emptiness she was feeling while struggling to hear from and understand God:
This story could represent someone in your community, at your workplace, in your neighborhood, within your family. Someone feeling unloved and hopeless enough to seriously contemplate taking his or her own life. What should we do? How can I help? What should you say?
Each person faced multiple problems of low income, attending school, leading a church, maintaining a family life and trying to spend personal time with God. In any other profession, this would be a formula for disaster. Yet, each one was passionate about the future and their relationship with God.
The courage of David is not found in slingshots vs. armor or brains vs. brawn. There is no guarantee that a David will always defeat Goliath. Rather it is David’s willingness to do what is right, wherever that leads and whatever the consequences.
Looking for words of encouragement, I typed the word “comfort” in a Bible program on my computer. In seconds, there were over 60 verses. I clicked print and received five pages of comforting scripture. At a Bible study, I handed each person a copy and asked them to pick a favorite verse and tell how they received comfort in the midst of crisis.
Despair following success can impact anyone: entertainers, athletes, preachers and teachers. A surge of success followed by a period of despondency and anguish. Why? It doesn’t make sense… or does it. Are successes always followed by bouts of despair? Of course not, yet it happens frequently enough to ask questions and seek guidance.