I rushed up to the self-service checkout, glanced at the time and hurriedly unloaded items from my shopping basket. I'd need to make it home in time for an appointment. All was fine until the machine erred. It wouldn't ring up my produce.
Great. That's all I need right now.
A message popped up. "Help is on the way."
Good. Someone will come to the rescue.
I looked for the store associate, but saw no one. I waited a couple of minutes. Impatient, I stepped away to go to Customer Service, but just as I did so, the store associate approached. She greeted me with a smile, typed a code into the machine, and voila, the produce issue was resolved.
Thank goodness for help. I left the store a happy customer and made it home on time.
"Help is on the way." Isn't this all we need to know about God's assistance when we need it? No intercom, cell phone, or computer needed. He is there for us 24/7.
The hold up at the grocery store, prior to the Coronavirus, was hardly a worry compared to what we're dealing with now. However, through this time of fear and uncertainty, help is on the way. People are rallying to assist others by donating food and household supplies and checking in on friends, neighbors, or the elderly. Some are making masks to aid in the shortage for medical personnel, and many in the health and service industries, are risking their own health to serve the needs of others.
As a society, we have collectively come together to support and encourage one through the use of our time, talents, and abilities. Likewise, our local and national government leaders are securing measures to remedy shortages of medical supplies, are looking into ways to deal with unemployment, and have initiated an economic stimulus plan.
Some may say, "How could God let our present situation take place? Perhaps we could ask the same thing of poverty, war, drugs, crime, or terrorism. The list could go on. We feel vulnerable. Fragile. However, the God of Creation, who made the universe and everything in it--including you and me--never intended for the world to become a place of chaos. Much of what has occurred throughout history has ties to human undertakings. There are some things; however, for which we do not have answers, such as national disasters or the current pandemic.
Scientists and medical researchers do not yet completely understand Covid19. However, there is one thing that as believers we know to be true. We have a God who is larger than any disaster or pandemic. He is here for us, and no matter what, He promises never to leave us or forsake us.
The Bible tells us that we are the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12): "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body--whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many."
As God's people, as the body of Christ, we are taking action together as one people, as we lift our hands in service to help others in time of need. He has come to the rescue. With His guidance, He will help us to get through the challenges set before us.
Indeed, help is on the way.
Assurance. And trust in Him. It's all we need right now.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." - Psalm 46:1
"The Lord is my helper." - Hebrews 13:6
"For the Lord God helps me." - Isaiah 50:7
"My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." - Psalm 121:2
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." - Isaiah 41:10
With the threat of the Coronavirus it's no surprise we're stressed--or even fearful. We've never been in a situation like this before. We don't need to let the seeds of fear take root. So, what to do?
My husband is a Master Gardener. Recently, we talked about stress. He said, "Do you know that plants get stressed, too?" I shook my head. I'd never thought about it. "A plant becomes vulnerable if conditions aren't right," he said, for example, if a plant has too little (or too much) of such essentials as water, sunlight, or nutrients.
He went on to explain that when a plant is compromised, it produces hormones that make it susceptible to infestation and disease. The bugs smell the hormones and begin feasting on the plant, damaging it, or even destroying it. Healthy plants can get bugs, too, but the type of hormones they produce are ones that attract predators to come after the bugs, which helps prevent damage or disease.
If we become compromised, it can cause us to be stressed, too. This brings us questions we an ask: are we taking caring of ourselves? Eating right? Getting enough sleep? Exercising? Staying in touch with loved ones and friends? Doing our best to maintain our physical, mental, and spiritual health? Taking time to do things we enjoy?
Back to the plants. When they're not stressed they flourish, grow, and develop defenses against pests, bugs, and disease. Now, back to us. When we're not stressed we can maintain better physical, mental, and spiritual health, which makes us more resilient to whatever might come our way.
THE "Master Gardener" of all Creation formed us, but not with a spirit of fear. We did that to ourselves. Fear is not from God. If we are fearful, we need to ask ourselves where it is coming from. I think we can all agree that evil exists in the world, so we must be wary. Deceit can stake a claim on our vulnerability. Once it takes root, it festers, damages, and destroys, just like the pest will due to a vulnerable plant.
Living in a state of fear leads to panic. We don't need that right now. Instead, we need to put the fear aside, girding ourselves with strength to fight the battle that is before us.
The Bible tells us not to fear. It's not easy to do, but it is necessary if we want to live with a spirit of hope that allows us to flourish, just like the plant that proliferates in good soil.
If you feel stressed, you're not alone. We're all in this difficult situation together. My prayer is that we will keep our "roots" grounded in the good soil of THE Master of all Creation. He offers strength and resilience through Him--and a spirit of peace, hope, and love.
(Special thanks to Rich Johnson, Master Gardener, for the inspiration and information contained in this blog).
Bible Verses for Encouragement:
'Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you." - Isaiah 35:4
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matthew 6:34
"I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." - Psalm 34:4
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." -1 Peter 5:6-7
Maybe you've heard this song? "Remember When," by Alan Jackson, depicting the tender relationship of a couple and how past events shaped their future. The title made me think of how we all go through difficult circumstances--not just in relationships, but in other aspects of our lives.
Lately, we awaken each day to the grim reality that the Coronavirus has turned our world upside down, creating unrest, economic instability, and the disruption of our lives. It's no wonder we may feel fearful. The trouble with fear; however, is that when it gets out-of-hand it creates panic--and sometimes hysteria.
Even if we're optimistic, and even if we rely in the power of One who is greater than us, we may still be fearful.
On a positive note, a remedy is available: hundreds of verses are contained in the Bible with God's instruction that we do not fear. But it's not easy for us mortals to do. It requires us trusting in the One who created us. It is hard for us to understand why some things happen, and the truth is, we may never have answers to those questions until the day we meet God face-to-face.
We can't predict what lies ahead. One thing that may help us; however, is to mentally take a step ahead. Imagine the day when our present difficulties fall into the category of "Remember When" moments--we will look back on this time of calamity and hopefully will be able to put it into some kind of perspective.
If we think of past events that have presented us with insurmountable challenges, we can remind ourselves that somehow we survived, pressed on, and endured. We are stronger than we think we are.
In this time of uncertainty, we can make the best of each day that we have. After all, that's the way we're supposed to live. One day at a time. The future hasn't arrived. The past is gone. We can be grateful for today.
As the future comes, may our "Remember When" moments be ones that enable us to grow stronger through all that we go through, putting one more notch onto our belt of experience.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling." - Psalm 46:1-3
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." - 2 Timothy 1:7
"Consider the lillies how they grow; they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." - Luke 12:27
Through God's Word!"
Find inner peace through Positive Thought, through Faith in God and through God's Word.