Today’s message is from Pastor Pam Sutherland of the St. Paul United Methodist Church & Fort Gibson United Methodist Church.
I am fascinated with old, abandoned houses, especially those that are 100 years old or more. Whenever I pass by a long-deserted homeplace I always imagine what it must have been like to live there when a family occupied its rooms and children played in the yard. I wonder what life was like in those days. I imagine that their lives were less stressful, more carefree, and without all the worries and concerns we have today.
Of course, that’s just in my imagination. Every generation has had its hardships, its tragedies, its sacrifices, and its struggles. When I was young, polio was the “pandemic” of the time (some of you can remember that little sugar cube vaccine); the “cold war” threatened our peace and safety (we had air-raid drills in elementary school where we crouched in the hallway practicing for when the “bomb” was dropped); the civil rights movement caused unrest across the country, the Viet Nam War caused political division, and the long-haired hippies were blamed for the moral decline of the country (my dad threatened to disown my brother when he came home from college with his hair in a ponytail!).
Of course, back then the news only came on the television at 6pm, in black and white. Radio and the daily newspaper were the only other sources for news. Often coverage of stories was several days old rather than minute by minute and consisted of reporting what happened without all the commentary and opinions. It was easier to not get caught up in and dwell on all the “bad news”. Now we are bombarded with 24 hour a day news, information, and opinions coming from multiple sources telling of every horrible thing that is going on in the world, with no shortage of opinions and accusations from every side. It can sometimes feel like we are carrying the weight of the world as we hear the latest updates on the pandemic, political division, racial unrest, news of hurricanes, wildfires, and so much more. And that weight doesn’t even take into account what is troubling us in our own lives and families.
Sometimes it all seems unbearable, like our hearts can’t take any more unsettling or bad news. If I’m not careful about what or how much news I let myself hear or read, I can become overwhelmed by it all. But then I remember that we were never meant to carry all of that burden ourselves. The Creator of the universe invites us to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) Not only are we invited to bring those concerns to God, but the writer of Hebrews encourages us to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need”. (Hebrews 4:16) We can be confident that God hears us and wants to help us, because He cares for us.
Today I am thankful for prayer. I am thankful that we can come before the God who knows the beginning from the end, who sees this mess we’re in, who hears our cries for help, and we can unload it all on Him – all our concerns, our worries, our fears. He doesn’t always take them away, or fix the problem instantaneously, but He does help us bear the weight of it all, and He will walk with us through it. In that promise, we can find rest and peace in these troubling times.
May you find grace to help you in whatever need you have today, as you confidently come before the throne of our loving heavenly Father.