Friday, November 02, 2012

Encouraging Words When All Else Fails by Jaye Lewis

Hurricane Sandy.  There it was, bearing down on us from the Atlantic, like some mythical dragon beast.  Surely it would swallow us up, and we would be consumed!  What could we do?  Prepare, they said.  Get supplies.  Water.  Non-perishable food -- they always show jars of peanut butter and white bread, and the inevitable box of crackers, as though you will somehow have enough to sustain you with that pittance.  What are they thinking?  Does that make them sleep better?  It was laughable and tragic, especially now, since even the most prepared provisions have floated out to sea.

So, what should we do, especially if we live near the coast?  Well, living near the coast requires preparation of a different kind.  It requires making friends with someone far from the coast.  If nothing else start a bank account far from the coast, and put regular deposits in it.  Be faithful in this.  Your life, and the lives of those you love could depend on it. Believe the weather reports.  Go far inland.  Flee farther than the storm front.  This storm covered a third of our country.  Even parts of Ohio had blizzards.  Lake Michigan had huge waves.  West Virginia had huge blizzards.  I believe people just didn't believe.  So, in the future, you'd better believe.

You know how on T.V., you always hear crime or storm victims say, "I never thought it could happen to me?"  Well, I am one of those people who believe, if it's going to happen, it's probably going to happen to me.  I'm a fatalist.  So, what do I depend on?  If it's going to happen, then why not give up?  Why not just stand on the beach and let the waves overtake me?  What do I do when all else fails?

I depend on God.  That's it.  It's as simple as that.  I pray.  I talk to God as I am talking to you.  I tell Him of my fears.  I tell Him of my sorrows.  I ask Him to protect me.  I ask Him to keep me safe, and if I am to die, I ask that He take care of those whom I love.  I ask Him to come for me, and to carry me home in His arms.  Then, because I am human; because I cannot help myself; because I know He never tires of me, I tell Him again.

Lord, I'm afraid.  Since we are on the cold side of the storm, in the mountains, I know we are going to get lots of snow.  You know that big tree that I love so much, Lord?  The one that I love to take pictures of?  Well, Lord, I'm afraid it's going to fall on us.  One good, stiff wind and it's going to fall on the house.  If it falls on the house, there goes the deck, and the roof, and the fireplace, and that whole end of the living room.  We could all be hurt, Lord.  We could die.  I'm not ready to die, Lord.  Lord, I'm afraid. Lord, I'm afraid. Lord, I'm afraid.  Help me, Lord.  Help me to be unafraid.  Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.

I went on Facebook, and I asked my friends to pray for me, those who were in safe areas. They were already praying and sending messages.  Social media can be a good and positive thing.  Prayer works.  God is there.  He always has been.  He has never needed television. He has never needed email.  He has never needed social media.  He is THE social media.  I think all these things are great and helpful.  I depend on my friends.  I talk to them nearly every day.  I keep in touch with them, all over the world.  They are the friends of my heart.  We are connected through our love for one another.  That is a blessing.  But, when all else fails, I depend on Him.

For us in southwestern Virginia, the snowstorm was slight.  It began to melt very quickly.  The tree did not fall.  The wind was reasonable.  My fear, although noticeable, was manageable.  God did not fail me.  I'm sure I failed Him, but He did not fail me.  He is my hiding place.  He is my port in the storm.  He is the glue that holds me together, and He is my everything when all else fails.

I hope that as you read this, no matter your situation in life, that you will consider that nations and governments will fail you.  Family and friends will fail you.  You will even fail yourself.  But God will always be there to catch you when you fall.  He is the Father who stands in the deep end of the pool, and when you jump, He is waiting with outstretched arms to catch you and keep you safe, no matter what happens in the end.  I hope you will turn to Him in your fear and in your failings, and I hope you will believe in Him, the way He believes in You.

Father in heaven, there is much suffering now, throughout the northeastern United States, especially New Jersey and New York.  But each person who reads this has suffering in his or her life.  There is illness and loss of every kind.  I ask you now, Lord, to touch their lives in an intimate way, so that they may know you as I do, and they may know that they are not alone.  I pray, Lord, that they may turn to You when all else fails.  In Your Holy Name.  Amen.

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