Life seems surreal these days. The strangeness of our new every day lives is unnerving.
The unknown is what makes us afraid. We are all trying to cooperate with the new rules, but it is hard. None of us knows what the best course of action is.
I have tried to get out and walk every day. I am less likely to meet someone at the small local parks.
My grandson asked me if I would come and pick him up yesterday. His mother had told him no, but he was hoping I could overrule his mother’s decision. When I called my daughter to discuss his request we agreed we needed to stay put in our own separate houses. She told me I had broken his heart. I was fighting back tears myself.
These inconveniences we are dealing with are mild compared to the passage we are looking at today. II Kings 6:8-23 tells us about a servant who was terrified because of a very real threat that he could see with his eyes. Watch for what Elisha prays for him. Here is the study template if you need it. anxiety template
Today I went walking at Camp Riversite. It is a park a couple miles from our home. I was hoping to see signs of Spring. Instead I saw old growth. Signs that life had been there, and would probably return.
There was an old burr oak that must have been over 200 years old.
I tried to imagine it as a seedling…imagining all the different people over the years that might have stopped and looked at it. The children that might have climbed in it’s branches.
This tree would have been 100 years old when the influenza hit in early 1918. They called it the Spanish flu. That pandemic killed my husband’s grandfather and 675,000 other people in the United States. 50,000,000 were to die world wide. Most of them ages 15-34. (*) The death rate was 50%. Not good odds.
As I read through Bible passages looking for stories for these posts I am wading through hundreds and thousands of years. The one constant is the God who created it all and is longing for us to turn to Him. Time and time again He is there when the trouble hits. He is there when people cry out to Him.
Today we are looking at someone who was given a gift they didn’t ask for. (Actually two people received things they didn’t ask for.) We are also looking at the death of someone in the age group mentioned above. You can find the story in II Kings 4:8-37.
Today I am thankful the state parks have been “reopened”. There was some confusion between the powers that be and the park workers. Thankfully it was sorted out and the barricades are down. The pictures above are of “Cave Point” in Wisconsin.
I am thankful that my children all have jobs that are considered “essential”.
I am thankful my husband is retired and safe at home.
I am thankful that Arianna has two neighbor children she can “play” with by keeping a garden hose on the lot line to remind them of social boundaries.
I am thankful that piano lessons can continue for Arianna with the magic of Zoom. It is a miracle I was able to figure out the technology to set it up with her piano teacher.
I am also thankful for a good supply of clean water; for plenty of food in my cupboards.
We will be looking at a widow who was in much more dire straights than we are. There was a famine in the land, and the innocent were suffering.
I Kings 16:29-34 will set the stage for the story that can be found in I Kings 17:1-24.
God does at least 3 miracles here. See if you can find more. Notice how God provides for Elijah. Why are these things unusual?
“Have no anxiety about anything…” (Philippians 4:6) You know the rest of the verse.
We are all struggling with anxiety these days. We want to do something…anything. We hate the feeling of being helpless. But the reality is we have always been helpless. At times like this we realize how small we are.
God knows our fears. He knows how prone we are to worry. He doesn’t scold us, but says again and again. “I will be with you.” “Be not afraid.” He is asking us to trust Him. He is asking us to “be still” (Psalm 46:10)
One of the ways we can be still is to be in His Word. Scripture is living and active and powerful. It gives us peace while the world around us is going mad.
Today we are looking at someone who faced certain destruction. Her name is Rahab. Her story can be found in Joshua 2:1-24; 6:20-25.
When you are done reading and studying I would encourage you to come back and comment on what you have learned. It is valuable for us to share with each other.
My favorite thing about being in a Bible study, (which I have had to put aside for now.) is to hear every person’s perspective on the same passage. While there is only one interpretation, there are many applications. It would be an encouragement to me if you shared what you have learned.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. ”
John 16:33 (NASB)
The hope we have in Christ is more hopeful than any president or king or government policy. These are frightening days, but more frightening than a pandemic is the thought of spending eternity apart from God. If you are unsure of your eternal future take some time to work through the “Redeemed” bible study.
Social distancing is the new normal. Anywhere from 3 to 6 feet is now the respectful distance to stand from someone. Groups are to be held at less than 10. If you might be sick you should self-quarantine yourself. I am doing my best to comply with this new way of living.
I’m thankful for a God who doesn’t practice social distancing. A God who comes near…who is with us…who even goes so far as to seek us out. A God who promises to one day wipe away every tear from our eyes.
So as we wait for these social distancing days to be over remember that He is very near. That He loves us with an everlasting love. That in these uncertain times we can be certain of our God pulling us close. Use these days to be in His word. To be in His presence.
Monday we learned about Hagar who encountered the God who sees. Here is the second passage in this series of anxious people. Use the template below to work through the text.
Exodus 1:8-21 – There are a lot of people mentioned in this passage. I would suggest you focus on the Hebrew midwives. Study this with someone you know over the phone or by skype. Tell me what you learn in the comments. Tell me how I can pray for you.
These are anxious times. The unknown is always more unsettling than the known.
In an effort to be of help I have created a template for studying about other people who were in anxious situations. Scripture is full of stories that God graciously wrote down for us. Our hope lies firmly with Him, not our circumstances.
Here is the first passage for you to look at and discover how God was at work. It is about Hagar, an Egyptian maid. She finds herself homeless, and later homeless and without food and water. Genesis 16, Genesis 21:1-21.
I will be posting a new passage at least twice a week. Take time to read it through. Our God is not far off. He is right here with us in the midst of the uncertainties. Day by day He will be faithful. Believe it.
As always I would love to hear from you. Also if you have prayer requests please let me know.